Number95

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  1. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That's also contradictory as Twilight (or at least Twilight and friends) are the most important characters, at least in Equestria. "The Cutie Re-Mark" essentially dug (another) grave for the show. I'm gonna be petty and say that the bolded stuff were hardly done well. As in, what was the point of wrapping up those "arcs" if they were meaningless from the start? Yeah, Twilight was learning about friendship throughout the show, but that's hardly why she is just as good as (as in, better than) the other princesses. When you mentioned those new elements, I'm guessing that they ended up getting hardly any exploration. I find it hard to believe that the School of Friendship wasn't used much in the show, but it's not like I'll ever watch the remaining episodes of season 8 and 9 to form my own opinion.
  2. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I do think the show can be competent as most of its single episodes show, and then we have the two-part episodes. And "Magic Sheep". It didn't need to be more ambitious to be good, and those single episodes are still examples of that. I haven't read the comics in a long time. Can you explain this? I don't know if Lauren Faust sticking around would've helped the show if the first two seasons were anything to go by as the show still didn't play enough with the more interesting ideas it brought up. Then again, the show has been without her for almost its entire run that the show could easily turn out much differently than it is now, but there isn't too much of a point over wondering what could have been since they never happened and could just as easily turned out wasteful and clueless for any reason I haven't seen the end of season 9 yet, and I still have a few episodes to go over before I get to that point. However, I won't be going through those episodes very quickly as rambling about MLP isn't a priority for me right now. If you really want, you can express your thoughts anyways as I don't mind spoilers, though I'm not sure if there's much to spoil. I haven't read too much about the final episodes yet as I'm not terribly curious about how the show ends, and there's not much of a point in doing so as I know I would never be satisfied with how the show ended.
  3. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I talked about the season 2 finale in these two posts. You may be surprised to see that I liked the season 5 premiere, though I wouldn't call it great. The only other one I would say that I liked is the season 1 premiere. However, that review isn't expressed as well as I would like (and I think I'll also say that for almost all of my early reviews before I wrote them in a more rambly style), but it still more less sums up my thoughts about the season 1 premiere. I liked it, but I wouldn't say it's great. It's decent at best. The main reason I liked it was because part 1 set up the characters and gave a good starting points to get to know the characters in one episode. Part 2 was rushed, and this especially shows with the speed in which the Mane 6 pass through Nightmare Mon's obstacles, but it still showed the Mane 6 being friends with each other. Or at least start being friends with each other by helping each other and being there for each other. The season 7 finale deserves some kind of mention. I wouldn't call it great mainly because it came too late, but I might have actually liked it if an episode like that came much earlier into the show. As for the rest of the 2-parters, I either hate them or am indifferent to them. I think the season 5 finale also deserves a special mention as it's my least favorite episode of the entire show as well as my pick for the worst television episodes I've ever seen. I also feel like plugging in my review of the Luna's season 5 episode, which is written in that old style I mentioned. The short version is that I hated it, and that episode is my second least favorite episode of the entire show. The reason I hate that episode so much is that it embodies the worst aspects of the show, which is that it has a great idea and an underused character that was ripe for expansion, but the episode does nothing with either of them. It even had the gall to exclude Princess Celestia when there was no reason to. Not helping is that this episode was a prime opportunity to not only get her involved, but it was also an opportunity to show the sisters' relationship, and they somehow manage to waste that.
  4. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    That's probably a better question, especially if Tirek was imprisoned while in his weakened form. That only adds to the idea that Discord wasn't needed to deal with a weakened Tirek. As for the season 4 finale, @Metemponychosis and I hated it. I don't know if he put his opinions somewhere on this site, but my review of it is in two posts. I don't remember too much of season 4 as I only rewatched and rambled about the opener, finale, and "Three's a Crowd". And even if I were to think well of season 4 minus those episodes, the comment I made earlier today still holds.
  5. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    @Metemponychosis The show being clueless is nothing new, for better or worse. I feel like I could just watch the slice-of-life episodes and skip the 2-part episodes, but I'm generally more interested in the 2-part episodes due to their concepts. But as you can see, execution always beats concept. Also, all of the major events and changes happens in the 2-part episodes, and it's too bad the results are... not good. It sucks that the 2-part episodes have to be in the same continuity as the slice-of-life episodes. What does it say about the show if the stories with more money and effort put into them are the worst ones?
  6. Thanks for the follow. :)

     

    And FINALLY, you posted your review of the S9 premiere!

     

    I'm gonna read when i'm less hungry and tired.

    1. Number95

      Number95

      You're welcome. I thought I was following you earlier, but I guess I wasn't.

      Read it and comment whenever you can or want. I apologize for taking so long to put it up.

    2. Leonbrony17

      Leonbrony17

      It's okay, man. ;)

       

      Art can't be rushed.

  7. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    The Beginning of the End The Mane 6 rush to the Canterlot Castle as they have received an urgent notification from the alicorn sisters. It turns out that there isn’t anything urgent happening at the moment. In actuality, Equestria has been peaceful for a fair while now, and this period of peace is all thanks to Twilight and friends. This comment leads to the Mane 6 feeling so flattered, especially in Rainbow Dash’s case. She thinks the sisters haven’t noticed? When did the sisters ever credit themselves or miscredit the ones who saved Equestria? I’m also guessing that more than a fair amount of time has passed since “School Raze”. Then again, the passage of time between seasons has always been a tad vague, so it almost feels like the sisters forgot about all of the recent villains throughout the show plus the movie. It’s only just over 1 minute into the episode, and the episode has already encountered trouble. Only on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Let me start with the most obvious question: How was the state of Equestria before Nightmare Moon showed her lame face? See, if Equestria happened to be in peace during the 1000 years Princess Luna was gone, this creates a lot of unfortunate and unintentional implications. You could say that Equestria was somehow better off without Luna, and her return only led to the rise and/or return of a bunch of other villains. Maybe I could apply that idea to Twilight and friends instead as all of these villains only started popping up when those ponies started becoming friends. As much as I would like to entertain those ideas, I won’t. There’s nothing to suggest that any of those scenarios are actually true (even if the writers are incapable of proving otherwise), and this will just lead to discussions involving a bunch of stupid fan theories and headcanons. And besides, “The Cutie Re-Mark” already stated that Equestria can only survive if the Mane 6 are friends, so even having a bunch of villains being linked to the Mane 6 wouldn’t be harmful in the long run. Still, I am interested in exploring the general state of Equestria, and I’ll just roll with the fact that Equestria happened to recently attracted the attention of so many different villains for whatever reason. Like I asked before, how was the state of Equestria before the start of the show? If it was miraculously peaceful, I have to wonder how and why that was the case as it sure as hell isn’t so peaceful nowadays. If Princess Celestia didn’t have any experience dealing with any troublesome pests while she was in charge, that may explain why she has been unable to answer any threats that have appeared throughout the show. However, the show has never tried to consider this idea at any point, so her uselessness and incompetence are still obvious results of poor handling of characters and bad storytelling. If she really was out of her element when it comes to supervillains due to lack of experience (and I also can go with the possibility of her being out of practice after not facing villains for a thousand years), is it really that difficult for the show to just say so? It also doesn’t help that she has already shown a few feats involving plenty of magic like in “Twilight’s Kingdom” when she as transferring her powers to Twilight, in “Lesson Zero” when she undid Twilight’s spell immediately, and in “The Crystalling” where she and Luna fended off a huge blizzard, so the showrunners weren’t thinking that she was weak. However, I want to emphasize that none of those feats make up for her numerous failures over the course of the show. On the other hand, if Celestia did have to handle threats prior to the Mane 6 picking up the Elements of Harmony, why is she suddenly so useless and incompetent now? The show also has no answer to this. Maybe just helping Equestria run smoothy was supposed to be Celestia’s main job, and she would have a specialized team to handle threats kind of like a real-life government, but the show hasn’t chosen this route, either. So, no matter what I try to think, the answer always points to poor handling of characters and bad storytelling. Anyways, Princess Luna claims that this period of peace has given the sisters less to do. Really? I thought they’d have more time to perform their usual duties of running Equestria as they don’t have to focus their efforts on major threats. I’m not asking about the politics of Equestria as I don’t care about politics, but it’s not like the show has bothered to – well, show – what the sisters have done for Equestria. Luna may have done some dream-walking, but it’s not like I can say how this has helped Equestria as a whole. Wouldn’t it have been nice if we could actually feel and notice the effects Luna’s job had on the other ponies and how that benefitted Equestria as a whole or at least parts of Equestria? Why limit her influence to just the Cutie Mark Crusaders? It’s too bad Princess Celestia couldn’t have been given a similarly positive, if vague and ultimately worthless, treatment. If the sisters’ job only involves protecting Equestria, then they have fucking sucked at this job. I actually wonder if the show has noticed that this task has always belonged the Mane 6 plus certain other characters. While it’s nice for Equestria to not have something that threatens its overall well-being at this moment, there’s no reason to thank Celestia and Luna for its current state. As a result of not feeling needed anymore (not that I can figure out what the sisters were ever needed for), they decide to retire and have the Mane 6 take over their jobs. This naturally puts Twilight in shock, but she would be thankful to know that Equestria wouldn’t lose much if it ditched the alicorn sisters. Or maybe she wouldn’t be so thankful as she would have to deal the fact that two of the most important ponies, one of whom is her idol, are fucking worthless. Nah, that would never happen. No matter what stupid shit MLP pulls, it will always say that the sisters are invaluable even if it prefers to show the opposite. The sisters claim that the Mane 6 are fit to rule Equestria because they have overcome various challenges, especially the supervillains. I want to note that I will continue to disregard real-life politics when it comes to this show. Not only do I not know or care much for politics, but any work of fiction will pretty much simply politics just to prevent the work from getting too complicated and bloated (unless the work itself is about politics, which MLP clearly isn’t), so it wouldn’t be fair to knock on the show for not accurately representing the duties of a ruler. Still, there’s more to ruling a country than handling supervillains. Otherwise, Celestia and Luna are already unqualified for the position. If I take the sisters’ statements more literally, which is overcoming various challenges and some friendship problems (Luna mentioned the Friendship Journal during this scene), then I would say that life throws various problems and challenges at everyone anyways, so their reason for the Mane 6 being fit to rule are still vague. Unlike Twilight, the rest of the Mane 6 don’t hesitate to accept this news for whatever reason, and Twilight eventually goes along with this news to conform with her friends. That’s great. The show is already indifferent to the fact that the Mane 6 will rule of a country. At the Crystal Castle, Twilight is still panicking about this news, but her friends are calm as they knew how Twilight would react and want to help her through her problem. They say that Twilight acts in a certain way when being panicky, but I don’t how true that is nor do I care to check. I’ll at least give the episode credit for showing why these other characters are her friends. Twilight is concerned about being unable to call for help if they come across a problem they can’t handle only for RD to point out that the alicorn sisters “almost never” help. As if pointing out the sisters’ uselessness actually solves anything because it doesn’t change the fact that they were and are still useless. RD, or the writers really, want to believe that the sisters being incompetent and useless was meant to test the Mane 6’s (or just Twilight, who the fuck knows?) abilities and see if they were fit to rule Equestria. Too bad that reason still doesn’t work because nothing suggests that Celestia and Luna were ever capable of handling whatever they threw at the Mane 6, so it always came off more as the alicorn sisters telling the Mane 6 to clean up the messes the alicorn sisters should’ve been able to clean up or at least help with. For example, how did Celestia decide that making stupid choices while Equestria was in danger was a good time to test Twilight’s abilities in “Twilight’s Kingdom”? Instead of helping the Mane 6 look capable, it just made the sisters look incapable, and it just makes me wonder how the sisters were even allowed to rule Equestria in the first place. Next, we cut to several villains. Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow are transported to… somewhere. I have no idea where they are or if they’re even in Equestria. More noticeably, Sombra is revived and speaking. It turns out that this gathering was put together by some goat name Grogar, which gets a gasp from everyone except Cozy Glow. Sombra said that he heard of Grogar, so I guess Grogar is at least 1000 years old. Chrysalis is also familiar with Tirek and Sombra, and Tirek knows about Changelings. I wonder how these supervillains get to learn about the others’ existence. Are Changelings not so uncommon in Equestria? Tirek and Sombra are rather ancient, and it’s not like the show confirmed that average pony in Equestria knows much about the average Equestrian villain. Is there some encyclopedia about supervillains that gets shared around? Cozy Glow is pretty young, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t know too much about some supervillains, or maybe she didn’t get the chance to read the encyclopedia yet. Grogar reveals that he gathered these other supervillains to kill Twilight and friends. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the alicorn sisters (plus Cadance, I guess) are so worthless that even a new supervillain doesn’t care to kill them. And I’ll also repeat that the show could at least admit that the alicorn sisters (plus Cadance again, I guess) are worthless. That may lead to a bunch of problems, but that just means the show shouldn’t have allowed this problem to have festered as much as it did. Time for some backstory on Grogar. He was an evil overlord who ruled Equestria before the country was even known as Equestria, and his ultimate plan was to take over the world. Grogar also created monsters to do his bidding. His orb then shows silhouettes of monsters devouring, or rather killing, ponies, which is actually a decent way of trying to show killing and death without directly referencing them. However, someone named Gusty the Great was able to overthrow Grogar, but that of course didn’t stop Grogar completely as he has been waiting for the right time to return and finish what he started. The MLP wiki said that Gusty the Great is a pony (at least in the not-so-canon comics) and was mentioned in a season 7 episode, but there isn’t too much on Gusty overall in any MLP media. I mean, I wouldn’t mind getting more information about Gusty the Great to see how the show can continue to make the non-Twilight alicorns even more worthless than they already are. Grogar says that he has watched each of these villains try and fail to take over Equestria, and he claims that the Mane 6 were able to overpower them because of teamwork. Actually, teamwork from the Mane 6 hasn’t been the reason for any of these villains’ downfall. More specifically, the Mane 6 was involved with the defeat of only one of these villains, which is Tirek. Chrysalis was first defeated by Cadance and Shining Armor through the power of love and without much actual help from the Mane 6, and she was defeated at the end of season 6 by her own minions hearing a speech from Starlight and somehow harnessing the power of love to unleash a magical blast at Chrysalis. I read that Chrysalis appeared in the season 8 episode “The Mean 6”, but the Mane 6 don’t encounter her. As you can see, the Mane 6 were never directly involved with Chrysalis’s defeat. In Sombra’s case, that’s a bit weird. Celestia and Luna somehow took care of him 1000 years ago, so he has been gone for a long time now. In “The Crystal Empire”, he showed up as an apparition and was ultimately defeated when Cadance returned the Crystal Heart to its proper place. The Mane 6 did sort of work together by taking on different assignments, but since most of the main characters in that episode didn’t directly confront Sombra or take on tasks meant to deal with him or keep him at bay, you still can’t say that the Mane 6 working together led to Sombra’s defeat. In the case of Tirek, “Twilight’s Kingdom” featured no teamwork whatsoever. Anyone who wasn’t Twilight was useless to the story, and all the Mane 6 did to beat Tirek was to stand together at the Tree of Harmony after using Twilight’s key and unleash a variation of the blast normally created by the Elements of Harmony. Cozy Glow was defeated by the Student 6 and not the Mane 6. While the Student 6 showed unity and friendship, I can’t exactly say that teamwork was involved as each of the Student 6 didn’t provide a certain skill to approach a problem, and the conflict with Cozy Glow was solved when the Tree of Harmony blessed the students. In summary, the show doesn’t even know itself. Anyways, as Grogar thinks that the Mane 6 being able to help each other has led to their numerous victories, he suggests demands an alliance among his fellow villains to conquer Equestria. However, Sombra isn’t interested in a team up and decides to conquer the Crystal Empire himself. Does he plan to do anything about the rest of Equestria? I don’t know why he wants to settle only for the Crystal Empire. Grogar warns him about failing and threatens to send him back to hell wherever he came from if that happens. On a side note, even though Cozy Glow’s prison was next to Tirek’s, she doesn’t seem to have acquainted herself with him. Back at the School of Friendship, Starlight visits Twilight, and Starlight seems to have gotten news of Celestia’s proposal to the Mane 6 off-screen. Twilight then announces that she will leave Starlight in charge of the School of Friendship and the Crystal Castle, and Starlight is also surprised about this transfer of power. Starlight getting the Crystal Castle all to herself? I wonder if she will get lonely. Then again, she will have the entire space to herself, so she can do as she pleases. Will she ask for other ponies to live with her? I don’t know if the series finale will answer that, but I’ll get my answer soon enough. Starlight doesn’t seem to take this news about this transfer of power to herself well and freaks out like Twilight did upon receiving her own news. Starlight is reassured about her own abilities and tries to use this moment to convince Twilight of her own abilities, but that doesn’t work as Twilight notes that running a country isn’t on the same level as running a school. See, the episode does know that Twilight will be taking care of the entirety of Equestria and not just defending it from threats. I don’t know why the episode kept talking about the latter only. Then again, it wouldn’t be unusual for an episode of MLP to not know what it’s talking about. At the Crystal Empire, Sombra makes an entrance with his dark clouds and dark crystals. There’s this one scene I quite liked when Sombra encounters a fallen and helpless filly, and the filly’s parents quickly pick her up and glare at Sombra defiantly. It’s a short and simple scene showing how one set of background ponies reacted to this event. Too bad they are immediately mind controlled by Sombra. The royal guards arrive and unsuccessfully try to apprehend Sombra and are instead also put under his control with helmets like the ones shown in “The Cutie Re-Mark”. I know a number of online fans have complained about the royal guards being useless, and while that complaint is valid, it isn’t as bad as making the non-Twilight alicorns useless. Unlike the other alicorns who get plenty of praise, the guards are nobodies and are thus more expendable. Of course, I would like to see them be a little more helpful and even work with the main characters if possible, but the alicorn problem should be addressed before the writers try that. Sombra along with the newly converted royal guards storm the castle, and Cadance writes a letter calling out Twilight for help. I’m not saying that Twilight shouldn’t get a letter, but shouldn’t the other princesses get a letter as well? I’ll be generous and assume Cadance only had time to send one letter. She and Shining Armor look for Flurry Heart only to find Flurry Heart already apprehended by Sombra. I would say that they should’ve kept Flurry Heart close by, but it’s certainly possible that things in the Crystal Empire were peaceful, and Flurry Heart was enjoying some alone time before Sombra showed up. There’s another amusing scene with Flurry Heart trying to bite Sombra, and it’s too bad her power has been suppressed because she probably would have liked to take a shot at him. Normally, I would like that Shining Armor and especially Cadance, who was ready to attack, were showing some defiance against Sombra, but that doesn’t make up for their uselessness during other 2-parters or overall inconsequential presence in the show. With Flurry Heart as leverage, Sombra has successfully conquered the Crystal Empire and chained up the royal family. Why hasn’t he put his special helmets on them? Did he run out or something? Are the chains dampening their powers? Even if they are, there’s still no reason for him not to put helmets on those ponies. He asks the royal family to bow to him, and all except Flurry Heart do. It’s a rather interesting mix of emotions from Flurry Heart as she tries to be defiant, but her face also conveys defeat and sorrow as her parents bow. I feel like I should be annoyed that the Crystal Empire was conquered so easily, but I’m not for some reason. If the show were handled better, I might say that the rulers had a real reason to surrender. I don’t know if I feel the way I do because I’m just not particularly interested in the show that much nowadays, or maybe I don’t care about the fate of the Crystal Empire as it is so underutilized. I guess I feel indifferent about this development. Next is a scene with Twilight and friends including Discord meeting at the Crystal Castle, and Twilight has just notified the others about getting the letter from Cadance. Fluttershy considers notifying Celestia and Luna about this. The sisters may have handled Sombra in the past, but they would immediately get their asses kicked in this day and age with the explanation behind their defeat being that Sombra became more powerful due to a power boost from Grogar. Or maybe Sombra was going easy on them in the past and was initially caught off guard, and that would just feed the idea that the sisters were never that powerful in the first place, and that already leads to a bunch of other questions. Or maybe Sombra will just immediately ambush and incapacitate the sisters, which begs the question of their involvement in the first place. Discord even calls the alicorn sisters the “real” rulers of Equestria. See? The show is still putting the sisters on some kind of a pedestal, and yet it is still uncertain about its own perspective of the sisters as usual. Twilight decides to not notify the sisters and then responds that they must handle this situation without additional help if they are to run Equetria. I guess she already forgot that they rarely, if ever, get that much additional help when facing situations like this, and she also already forgot about RD saying that the Celestia and Luna almost never help. She then considers asking Discord to take care of Sombra. There’s an interesting bit of irony here. Normally, Celestia and Luna would ask and/or leave the Mane 6 to do everything, and this time the Mane 6 want Discord to deal with Sombra for them. I also think this is the first time the Mane 6 directly asked Discord to deal with a villain. Otherwise, he’s simply absent for one reason or another. I don’t know what Discord does on an average day, but I assumed that he just does whatever he likes during his own time. He may be with the Mane 6 now, but he isn’t inseparable from them. Although, I’m not sure what his relationship with Fluttershy is like right now. I remember at least a few episodes (though I don’t remember which exactly) showing Discord living in his own chaotic dimension, and if he didn’t sync that dimension with Equestria, he wouldn’t be aware of whatever is happening in Equestria. It seems that I am not that bothered about Discord usually absent during some two-parters or even the movie. For one thing, the show doesn’t go out of its way to exclude Discord. For some recent examples, “School Daze” had Princess Celestia immediately saying that she couldn’t do much about the EEA, and “Shadow Play” had Celestia saying early on that she couldn’t read an old language in a book that talked about the fate of some ancient and major figures. It also helps that those episodes don’t fall into the amateurish trap of making a powerful character look helpless to emphasize the gravity of a situation. And Discord isn’t as associated with Equestria as Celestia and Luna. Celestia and Luna are the ones who are in charge of and thus responsible for Equestria’s well-being, and Discord might as well be living in another country (or like I said earlier, another dimension). If Discord was somehow in charge of Equestria, and let’s assume he’s still a good guy in that role, he would look pretty ineffective and incompetent if he was unable to carry out a basic part of his job. Discord ultimately turns down the offer to beat Sombra on the spot as he also agrees with the (arbitrary) idea of the next set of rulers needing some independence when dealing with a major problem. Since Sombra already took over the Crystal Empire, accessing the Crystal Heart may not be so easy, so the Mane 6 decides to use the Elements of Harmony. Discord disagrees with using the Elements as they weren’t used back in “The Crystal Empire”, and while that’s true, he also says that using the Elements would mean that the Mane 6 had additional help in dealing with Sombra. I guess that’s also true to a degree, but they’ve used the Elements of Harmony multiple times to handle guys like Sombra. They were used back in “Shadow Play” not too long ago and even against Discord himself. Let’s not forget that Celestia and Luna used the Elements of Harmony at least once, so I don’t exactly know why Discord is objecting to this plan. And Twilight also shoots down Discord’s disagreement because her family being in danger gives her more of a reason to use the Elements. We’re back in the Crystal Empire, and Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart are trapped in some kind of prison made of dark crystals that their magic can’t break through. I still can’t figure out why Sombra hasn’t tried to mind control them yet, but whatever. The Mane 6 show up with the Elements of Harmony and immediately charge toward Sombra. I also can’t figure out why they don’t just active the Elements right then and there, but whatever again. Sombra stops the Mane 6 by subjecting them to their worst fears, but we only get to see Twilight’s worst fears which is pretty much letting down and being unable to help the ponies she cares about. The Elements of Harmony glow and break through Sombra’s spell, and Twilight tells him that they just wanted to distract him so Spike could break down the prison and free Cadance, Shining Armor, and Flurry Heart. Spike’s flames were able to break down the dark crystals, so his prison only seems to deflect pony magic. I have to admit that this was a pretty good way to use Spike as an ace in the hole. Still, I think the Mane 6 could’ve unleashed their Elements, and their magic could take care of Sombra as well as his dark crystals, or just take care of Sombra so they wouldn’t face any opposition. But they wanted to let Spike see some action, so I can accept this. Cadance grabs the Crystal Heart and returns it to its proper location, and this also clears the entire Crystal Empire of Sombra’s touch. The Mane 6 then immediately blast away Sombra, and another amusing scene pops up right after with Cadance returning to the castle ready to attack Sombra only to learn that he is already gone. The Mane 6 are surprised at taking this victory so easily, and Twilight is then reassured of her own capabilities. They haven’t noticed that the Elements of Harmony almost always lead to easy victories. The only exception to this was in “Shadow Play” with the Pony of Shadows, and the reason that one wasn’t as easy was because the episode wanted to give some time to let Twilight and Starlight converse with Stygian. After Stygian was rescued, the Pony of Shadows was quickly banished. Sombra obviously hasn’t truly been beaten because that victory was still too quick and easy even by the show’s own standards, and there’s a second episode that has yet to happen. Killing him so soon after his resurrection would also be wasteful. Then again, it wouldn’t look unusual for the show to be too wasteful. The Mane 6 return to the Tree of Harmony to return the Elements to it, and black clouds suddenly emerge. Next, black crystals sprout from the ground and destroy the tree, and the Elements of Harmony fly out of the tree and shatter after crashing into the ground. I thought that ancient magical artifacts like those wouldn’t be so easy to shatter because it almost feels like one could accidentally break them, but whatever yet again. The Mane 6 now learn that Sombra faked his defeat so he could be led to their source of power and destroy it. In “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, the Tree of Harmony needed the Elements to be at full power. Discord planted plunder seeds, but they weren’t able to sprout as the Tree was still protect Equestria even without holding the Elements. The Tree got weaker over time until the beginning of season 4, or maybe the seeds just sprouted very slowly, and the Tree regaining its Elements eliminated all traces of Discord’s seeds. Now that the Tree is destroyed, Equestria will be vulnerable to similar magical attacks. Or maybe it won’t as the Mane 6 will be there to continue protecting Equestria with the writers’ blessings while the ones who are supposed to do the protecting will fall helplessly with additional blessings from the same writers. Maybe Twilight is just so much better than Celestia and Luna that she won’t need something like that to passively protect Equestria from magical threats because she’ll simply cast a spell that doesn’t require maintenance to serve the same purpose. Bonus points if Twilight conveniently discovers such a spell in the future. Or maybe Celestia and Luna just suck so much that they need something like that Tree to passively keep Equestria safe and are unable to cast a spell that does something similar. Time for part 2. Sombra cackles about his apparent victory while the Mane 6 are in shock and denial about the Elements and Tree being destroyed. Twilight is especially distraught about this turn of events. RD decides that they should attack him “the old-fashioned way”, which of course means charging directly at him, intending some physical attacks. Everyone, except Twilight of course, looks so eager to attack, but they are too confident as I don’t know how RD or anyone else expects this to work. Sombra also seems all too aware of this awkward plan as he creates another prison of dark crystals to trap the Mane 6, and Twilight tries to blast away the prison to avail. It’s not like Twilight’s friends would have been able to do anything against Sombra as Twilight is the only who could partake in a magical battle. AJ and RD would have to resort to physical attacks, which won’t be nearly as effective as magic, Pinkie’s “randomness” would be ditched to maintain stakes, Rarity’s magic isn’t nearly as potent as Twilight and would only come off as a pest to a powerful villain, and I don’t know what Fluttershy could do. Sombra finally realizes that he can now take over Equestria instead of just the Crystal Empire. He no longer cares about Celestia and Luna. I’ve mentioned more than a few times about how low the sisters have fallen, but that won’t stop me from pointing it out and getting annoyed about this. Sombra spites the Mane 6 by targeting Ponyville first, and he threatens to subject them to their fears again only to pull away as he is confident about them being powerless. At least this fits his overconfident nature, so I’m not against this decision. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to incapacitate them, but the Mane 6 would just power through their fears anyways, so whatever. Sombra leaves, and all 6 ponies are now distraught. Twilight is doubting herself again, and this feeling is compounded with her sense of powerlessness against such terrible odds. I want to comment more on this, but I’ll save that for later. RD says that Pinkie would normally say something funny to cheer them up and give them hope, and I don’t know how true that is, but Pinkie has nothing this time. At least she knows not to say something stupid under dire circumstances. Rarity even cries for Sweetie Belle’s safety and muses that she’s that she’s trying to be strong by not crying. In a way, Rarity openly showing tears can be a sign of strength as she’s not afraid to show and admit how she feels. Thankfully, she isn’t too broken up about this as that would’ve diverted her focus and resolve. See? Showing tears isn’t a bad thing. I think this is something that kids and adults should know about. Anyways, as blasting through the crystal prison isn’t an option (and neither is charging through the crystals, though I’ll assume the crystals are too tough to physically break), Twilight decides to dig under the prison (without magic for some reason) with her friends following suit not long after. This is why Sombra should’ve incapacitated them, but like I said, they would’ve just broken out somehow. He could have killed them, too, but that would never happen even if this were given a higher age rating as this would be a pretty unceremonious way for any of the Mane 6 to die. Even Rarity decides to help dig as saving Sweetie Belle as well as the rest of Ponyville matters more than dirty hooves. The Mane 6 arrive at Ponyville, but Sombra has been victorious for some time with the citizens of Ponyville already reduced to mind-controlled minions. Apple Bloom is one of the first victims the Mane 6 sees, but Twilight’s magic isn’t powerful enough to break Apple Bloom away from Sombra’s control. Spike and even the all-powerful Starlight have also already fallen to Sombra. How did the wimpy Celestia and Luna ever beat Sombra, again? Sombra approaches Canterlot Castle and its throne room only to discover the lack of alicorns inside. He even thinks that the sisters chickened out from facing him. Why didn’t the sisters do this back when Tirek was on a rampage? He might even wonder how they could possibly have beaten him during their previous encounter. However, there is an explanation for their disappearance which will be revealed shortly later. Since, the Tree of Harmony is gone, the vines from the Everfree Forest spontaneously grow and threaten to cover all of Ponyville. In “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, Princess Celestia said that the Tree’s magic was able to prevent the Everfree Forest from growing out of control. However, I’m wondering what caused the Everfree Forest to grow out of control in the first place. Did the show provide an explanation at any point? The Mane 6 grab some gardening tools to combat these vicious vines, and I wonder how this is supposed to help. As the vines are continuously growing, simply cutting them down wouldn’t stop their growth. Shouldn’t they be focused on trying to stop the vines from growing further before cutting them down? It looks like they realize this later as they’ve been hacking at the vines for a while with no apparent progress. Suddenly, Celestia and Luna show their faces, and AJ is overjoyed to see them. Turns out Star Swirl alerted the sisters about the Everfree Forest, and he knew about the Tree’s destruction/death due to having some internal magical connection to the Tree. The episode didn’t explicitly say or even imply that, but it’s an explanation I can roll with as the Pillars were the ones who grew the Tree in the first place, and Star Swirl himself is a pretty powerful wizard. He also said that the Pillars were the ones who dealt with the Everfree Forest’s uncontrollable growth before they planted the Tree of Harmony, and that job must have been a pain in the ass since the Everfree Forest would just immediately start growing and need constant maintenance. Celestia and Luna finally learn about Sombra’s return, so they didn’t chicken out of a confrontation like Sombra thought. Too bad Cadance didn’t notify the alicorn sisters about Sombra’s return because the would have known to leave Canterlot with some form of defense while they left to deal with the Everfree Forest. Then again, considering how worthless and incompetent the sisters are and how much the show would rather artificially increase tension and stakes to give the Mane 6 a bigger hurdle to jump over, it’s not like anything the sisters did would’ve worked. Celestia tells the Mane 6 to deal with Sombra while she, Luna, and Star Swirl deal with the Everfree Forest. Earlier, Twilight couldn’t muster up enough magic to destroy a ton vines and significantly slow their growth, but Celestia, Luna, and Star Swirl don’t have that problem. It’s amazing how many problems the show keeps stumbling into. In this case, Celestia and Luna do have more raw magic than Twilight to spare, so their powerlessness over the show yet again doesn’t make sense. Then again, nothing about the sisters makes sense. The Mane 6 go to Canterlot and find themselves staring down at the ponies of Ponyville as well as the Wonderbolts. They are initially reluctant to directly deal with the mind-controlled ponies at first until the mind-controlled ponies decide to attack. Since they don’t want to be stuck in such an uncomfortable situation too long, Twilight decides to teleport themselves inside the Canterlot Castle. She could’ve done that much sooner as they didn’t really have anything else to do. I mean, they didn’t want to confront innocent ponies under a spell, and they couldn’t break the mind control, but better late than never. Twilight continues to feel distraught about their current situation, and then Discord shows up and notices how deep in shit they are. He points out that they have no Elements (I guess he has some internal connection to the Tree), and that the other Princesses aren’t with them. He was already thinking that the Mane 6 were shaping up to be the best protectors Equestria ever had. Um, aren’t they already? What competition do they have for that kind of recognition? And why is the show still giving weight to the alicorn sisters being missing and unable to help? I really shouldn’t be surprised at the show’s stupidity, but I can’t stop being in awe about how far this show’s stupidity goes even when I already know that it reaches too far. Sombra is decorating the throne room with his dark crystals until the Mane 6 suddenly appears. Sombra tries to zap them until Discord intervenes and nullifies every shot Sombra makes. Discord expresses disappointment about the Mane 6 being unable to handle Sombra and also mentions his special attachment toward Fluttershy. This statement causes Sombra to aim a shot directly at Fluttershy, which Discord responds to by jumping in front of Fluttershy and taking the attack. Discord could’ve easily nullified that shot in the same way he nullified the others, but there’s an explanation for this choice, which I’ll get to shortly later. The blast seems to have taken quite a toll on Discord as he’s unable to cast any of his own spells, which results in Sombra relishing this key victory in his conquest over Equestria. On a sidenote, Sombra is also familiar with Discord. So, is there really an encyclopedia about supervillains? The Mane 6 lose hope as they don’t know how else to answer to Sombra, and Discord gives a speech about them only needing themselves and each other to beat the villain and save Equestria. Twilight thinks that they have been victorious due to teamwork, and I’ll reiterate that teamwork in 2-part episodes doesn’t happen as often as any of them think. The only times I can think of that feature them working together to save Equestria include “Friendship is Magic”, “Shadow Play”, and “School Raze”. It’s worth mentioning that “School Raze” put the Mane 6 on the sidelines to give spotlight to the Student 6, but at least it did feature the Mane 6 actually working together even if it’s just to escape Tartarus, so I’ll still give that episode credit for showing teamwork. I suppose “The Crystal Empire” did have some amount of teamwork as each of the Mane 6 had their own assignments to complete for the sake of the Crystal Empire, so I’ll be generous and count that as well. So far, before this episode, it’s 4 out of 12 two-part episodes (“School Daze” was excluded as that episode didn’t feature any extremely huge stakes) in which the Mane 6 worked together toward a solution. Y’know, LESS THAN HALF the time. Twilight feels reinvigorated by Discord’s speech and also by the presence of her friends, so the Mane 6 march triumphantly toward Sombra. Sombra tries to zap the Mane 6, but Twilight deflects all of Sombra’s attacks. Either Sombra isn’t as tough as the show would like to say, Twilight is tougher than the show would like to say, the alicorn sisters still aren’t as tough as the show would like to say, or all of the above. By the way, good thing Twilight is a master magician because I don’t know how any of her friends would have been able to deal with a blast if successfully connected to any one of them. The Mane 6 stand together, join hooves, and together they use the magic from within themselves to recreate the power from the Elements of Harmony to blast Sombra into oblivion. This is just like the ending of the first Equestria Girls movie, and I can’t say that I’m fond of either scenarios because the show has always established that the Elements of Harmony were the sources of the most powerful magic in Equestria. It doesn’t help that in “Shadow Play”, the Pillars needed to use their own respective artifacts to unleash a magical blast against the Pony of Shadows, so that still just fuels the idea of such powerful magic needing an amplifier to be unleashed in the first place. Of course, they all need the appropriate wielders to do their thing so not just anyone can use the artifacts. On the other hand, maybe they wanted to play with the idea of discovering “the power within” so the Mane 6 wouldn’t always need to rely on the Elements to beat the bad guy, though taking that route makes the existence of the Elements pointless. In actuality though, they wanted to truly show that the power of friendship and not magical artifacts are responsible for defeating the villain and saving the day. However, that still comes with its share of problems. So, they’re the ponies who embody their respective traits? Way to open yourselves up to more problems, writers. For one thing, that still doesn’t support the idea that friendship defeated the villain. I have to emphasize again that it’s their friendship that did the job, and that possessive pronoun makes such a huge difference because it leads to another problem. Well, a problem that has always been present, but another problem nonetheless. Now, I understand that the Mane 6 are the main characters, so it makes more sense for an episode like this to place some importance on them and to put them at the frontlines, but the show always goes too far in that regard. The show is still diminishing other ponies just to elevate the Mane 6, and that only makes the other ponies worthless instead of proving that the Mane 6 are helpful and valuable. The writers probably don’t want another random group of friends to be the ones that defeat Sombra because the Mane 6 would not seem so necessary if any kind of friendship is already enough. So, how could we show that friendship is magic by giving other kinds of friends some importance while still keeping the Mane 6 at the frontlines? I would say that assigning tasks to minor ponies is one option, but there’s still another problem that needs to be addressed. If the Mane 6 are the only ones who can unleash the magic from the Elements of Harmony, that still elevates the Mane 6 while diminishing every other pony in Equestria. I said in “School Raze” that the show should not have weaponized friendship in the first place as doing so came with too many bad implications, but I don’t know how else the show can still create a large confrontation against the villain if powerful magic can’t and won’t be used. Sure, Twilight has some powerful magic, but would Twilight being the only pony seeing major action improve the 2-part episodes? At the very least, weaponizing friendship as literal magic should be the first thing to go. The next step can be to actually have ponies and not just the Mane 6 work as a team and as friends to achieve a goal. The focus can still stay on the Mane 6, but they shouldn’t be the only active ponies. And is it really a crime to dedicate one or even two season openers or finales to at least one of the alicorn sisters while making the Mane 6 major supporting characters? Otherwise, if there really is no way to tell large-stakes stories in 2-part episodes that can weaponize friendship metaphorically or not without making other ponies seem inconsequential, then these kinds of episodes shouldn’t be made in the first place. Back to the episode. Sombra’s true defeat is still anticlimactic. The six ponies are still just standing (or floating) around and blasting the villain, like with any other episode that required the Elements to defeat the villain. The alicorn sisters return to their throne room, and they find the Mane 6 are tending to Discord who is no doubt enjoying their sympathies. Twilight runs up to Celestia and admits that she made some mistakes in this episode and isn’t ready to rule Equestria just yet. She even admits that she should’ve called Celestia and Luna for help, but what could those two possibly help with? Sure, they blasted the vines, but that’s practically nothing when taking the entire show into consideration. This wouldn’t have been as bad if the alicorn sisters were handled better as this can be another example of them providing some support from behind, but we’d be talking about a completely different show if the sisters were handled better. Why couldn’t they have been more helpful in “Twilight’s Kingdom”? Or “Shadow Play”? Or “The Return of Harmony”? Oh, Twilight was being tested for her capabilities? So, Celestia making stupid choices while Tirek was on a rampage, being unable to decipher an old language when approached about the fate of the Pillars, or simply being powerless against the villains were legit reasons to test Twilight? I would wonder if Celestia somehow knew she was unfit to rule and has been looking for a replacement for some time, but then I would also wonder how she even deemed by herself or anyone else to be fit to rule at all. Princess Celestia responds to Twilight, and I quote, a good leader knows when to ask for help while a great leader owns up to their mistakes and tries to correct them. Well, Celestia is sure as hell not a “great” leader, then. I’d try to say the same about Luna, but I don’t remember an instance where she had to make important decisions for the sake of Equestria. Maybe I could say that they’re “good” leaders as they ask for help with problems they’re unable to solve, but there’s a difference between asking for genuine help and always asking for help while never contributing anything important at any time. The show is always more interested in saying what Celestia can’t do while not actually showing what she can do. At least this episode shows her using some powerful magical blasts, but I’ll just repeat that this already leads to a bunch of other questions. Luna can dream-walk, but I’ve already given my say on that. Celestia then reaffirms that Twilight has the makings of a “great” leader, but she may have thrusted this onto Twilight too suddenly and will let Twilight take over when she finally feels ready. Was this supposed to be another test? Whether this was or wasn’t, my shitload of questions still apply. Discord gets pissed off about this development happening later instead of sooner and reveals that he faked his injury from Sombra earlier to give Twilight some inspiration and encouragement. He should know that his efforts weren’t entirely wasted as Twilight and friends did prove themselves for a bit, but they still need to prepare themselves to handle a huge task such as ruling a country. Luna muses that she and her sister enjoyed being able to make an actual contribution toward a solution. She even said that it has been years since they have seen some action. Aside from some questions I asked much earlier, it has been over 1000 years in the case of Luna. When was the last time Luna herself got into a confrontation? Never in this show. The closest I can think of is “The Crystalling”, and all the sisters did was fend off a huge blizzard. Luna adds that the Mane 6 makes the fighting look easy. Aside from the fact that there’s barely any fighting at all, it is pretty easy for the Mane 6 to handle villains with their Elements as all they have to do is pose with the Elements doing the rest. It’s back to the villain team with Cozy Glow trying to get along with Tirek and Chrysalis, but the latter two aren’t interested. I wonder if she’s trying to get them on her side so she can use them for her own purposes like she tried with other ponies in “School Raze”. She even gets annoyed about her partners being reluctant to get along with her. Grogar emerges and announces that Sombra has failed to conquer Equestria and becomes more insistent about joining forces to defeat the Mane 6 and rule Equestria. What happened to the Everfree Forest? How did the 3 ponies there stop it from growing? Unless they have answered that question, wouldn’t the Forest continue growing as they stand and speak? Well, I hated this episode. I don’t know how bad I would say this 2-parter is compared to others, but it’s easily the worst since “The Cutie Re-Mark”. The writers would have to purposefully make something worse than “The Cutie Re-Mark”, and I can honestly see them trying to do something that ridiculous, but I digress. I might as well talk about Sombra as this is the episode in which he is most prominent. I’ve read plenty of online comments about him being lame in “The Crystal Empire” as he was just a generic evil presence who growled, and I can see where they’re coming from as he didn’t do a whole lot even as a dark presence until that episode’s climax. But I didn’t think he was lame. He was just sort of there, and at least he was able to pose a threat. I would say that he served his purpose adequately, even if it could have been better. In this episode, he’s a pretty good villain. He’s smug, boastful, talkative, overconfident, and even clever. I liked that he played the Mane 6 by faking his own defeat so he could destroy the Elements of Harmony. He even thinks nothing of his opposition such as thinking that Celestia and Luna are cowards (though I can’t say he’s wrong about that) and not bothering to mind control the Mane 6 when he had the chance (though it wouldn’t have mattered if he did that anyways) as he didn’t see them as threats after destroying their Elements and trapping them. He is even aware of Discord and seeing up close how obviously outclassed is against Discord, he refuses to believe that he is inferior to anyone and celebrates his victory too well after thinking he beat Discord. Sombra’s ego greatly shows and also bites him in the ass when he gets frustrated at Discord nullifying his attacks and later when the Mane 6 blast him with their internal Elements. I guess I can say that Sombra’s characterization is pretty good in this episode, and I might have liked him more if the show was better. Too bad there isn’t much else I liked about the episode. There are some minor moments in the episode that I liked, but they’re just that. Moments. Time for the bad, then. I remember reading that one of Lauren Faust’s goal for the show was to have Twilight succeed Celestia as ruler of Equestria. That doesn’t mean I will give the episode points for following through with Lauren’s original intentions because the show screwed itself over long before it could finally reach any kind of conclusion. I can sum up the major problems of this episode down into two things: the episode mishandles its characters and ideas, and the episode doesn’t know anything about the show it is a part of. I’ve mentioned more than a few times over this ramble about how poorly Celestia and Luna have been handled in the show, and that as a result impacts whatever the show wants to say about them especially in this episode. The two want to retire. Why? Because they no longer feel needed and believe that the Mane 6 are or will be more than ready to take their places. No longer needed? What were the sisters ever needed for? Even if they were awful at keeping Equestria safe, I don’t know what else they have done for the country. So, what would Equestria miss if Celestia and Luna were ever gone for whatever reason? And as with “Magical Mystery Cure” suddenly making Twilight an alicorn princess because she learned yet again that friendship is magic, the Mane 6 are chosen to be rulers of Equestria because they have been able to handle supervillains. Hey, a well-trained and specialized crimefighting team could accomplish something similar, assuming the characters in the team are the main characters, but do you see the Justice League or Avengers being political leaders? That may happen in some “What if?” stories, but I digress. Being a leader comes with more than fending off threats. Now, I’m not asking for MLP to show the intricacies of politics, but the episode doesn’t give much of a reason for the Mane 6’s qualifications, and this attempt at a change in status quo instead feels random. I feel a need to give a special reiteration to the episode attempting to address the sisters’ inactivity as being tests for the Mane 6 to prove themselves. I’ve had this thought go through my head so many times, and I still can’t understand how the writers expect this excuse to work. It’s one thing if Celestia and Luna were to stand back and observe the Mane 6, but the result looks pretty different when taking the context into account. Before this episode, other two-parters would just come up with an excuse for Celestia and Luna being unable to help. Discord is on the loose? Turns out Celestia and Luna are powerless against him. Chrysalis makes a sudden attack at a wedding? Too bad Celestia isn’t quite strong enough to deal with her. Tirek emerges? Let’s have Celestia make everything worse with Luna making no contribution just to see how Twilight would react. There’s a book that talks about the fate of the Pillars? Too bad Celestia can’t read an old language. And let’s not forget the alternate timelines with Celestia and Luna being powerless against the villains. So, all we have ever been given are the sisters (especially Celestia) for one reason or another being unable to do anything about something that can threaten Equestria. And like I asked before, if the sisters were finding more suitable candidates to rule Equestria, how were they even approved in the first place? Did they think they were capable of handling such a position? Were they aware of how unhelpful and unqualified they have been? The writers’ answers to those questions are obvious, but it’s too bad those answers won’t line up with whatever they have given throughout the show. And one more question: HOW DID THE WIMPY CELESTIA AND LUNA EVER BEAT SOMBRA, AGAIN? Whether the writers know it or not, this poor handling to Celestia and Luna also affects the main characters, mainly Twilight as she’s an alicorn princess and pretty much THE main character of the show. In fact, the episode places special emphasis on Twilight being the ruler even though she’d be ruling with her friends. In this episode, Twilight has to prove that she is capable of being a “great” leader. It’s another episode in which Twilight has to prove herself as a royal. The last time something like this happened was in “Twilight’s Kingdom” where she had to prove that she had something to offer as an alicorn princess and that she might even be just as good as the other alicorns. Um, prove what? She’s already better than the other alicorns, especially Princess Celestia. Hell, Twilight has been better than Princess Celestia since THE BEGINNING. What has Celestia been able to do that Twilight couldn’t? Fix a play? Not bad by itself. Being the only notable achievement in the entire show? Fuck you. There’s “Lesson Zero” where Celestia quickly cleared Ponyville of Twilight’s magic, but that leads to other questions that I have brought up numerous times. I can accept that Celestia can’t do everything, and that Twilight can be better than Celestia in some ways, but that’s not what happened in the show. In a way, these creative choices end up being more insulting to Twilight instead of helping her. Why would the show want to compare her to such worthless and incompetent characters? This episode and “Twilight’s Kingdom” wanted to confirm that she can be just as capable as the other alicorns, so why push her down to that level? If anything, the other alicorns needed to be raised up to Twilight’s level. For better or worse, Twilight is my least favorite character in the show, and this episode is a good example of why that is. Twilight is likeable on a surface level, and I also like how much genuine passion she has in learning and teaching for the benefit of herself as well as others. But the royal and more magical side of Twilight? No. I don’t mind the show doing more with the part of Twilight that deals with friendship and learning, but there needs to be a complete do-over with Twilight as a spellcaster and as an alicorn princess. I would prefer if Twilight wasn’t an alicorn princess unless the show can give a good reason as well as expand on alicorns, but I digress. I guess I can give some comments on the rest of Twilight’s friends. They didn’t do too much on the whole, but at least they did well in trying to support Twilight when she was feeling down and help around when they were needed. I suppose I can count this episode as another in which the Mane 6 actually used the concept of friendship to beat the villain. This time, even though they only stood around when blasting Sombra, they did march together with a sense of unity and support for each other right before that moment. An episode like “The Return of Harmony” or “Twilight’s Kingdom” simply had them being together with nothing else other than the fact that they’re together. There’s more to friendship than just being physical present. The only other episodes I would count friendship being used or contributing to beating a villain are “Friendship is Magic” and “Shadow Play”. So, that 3 out of 13 episodes. In terms of teamwork, they each contributed to a certain task as well as the task of dealing with Sombra and his influence, so that’s 5 out of 13. Yeah, those numbers are hardly impressive. I guess I can count the big movie for using both friendship and teamwork, though that doesn’t make me think it’s good, but I digress again. It’s no surprise that I would even hate the season 9 premiere, that makes me wonder how well I’ll think of the last 3 episodes of the show. It also sucks that I would never have been satisfied with how the show ended outside of its first season. I’m not saying that it’s the best season as I’m terrible at deciding what is the “best”, but it is my favorite as it drew me into the show with its ideas and possibilities. Season 2 would be my second favorite as I was pretty invested in the show at that point, but my interest only dropped over time, especially at the end of season 4. Of course, it’s a shame that the show never took off, but what can you do? Looks like I’ll be covering “Sparkle’s Seven” next as I’m curious as to how the creators handle another milestone episode.
  8. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Unfortunately, that doesn't make me more interested in checking out the episode. I haven't really seen much of the last 3 seasons of the show, and the episodes I do watch are either the 2-part episodes or episodes featuring Celestia and/or Luna. And I only watched those episodes to see if they were gonna suck or not. I mean, I'm already iffy about whether I'll look at "Sparkle's Seven" even though that's the show's 200th episode, but maybe if I end up being interested enough after some amount of time, I'll look at "Frenemies". The main reason I felt this should've happened earlier in the show is because the sisters in this episode act like they could barely tolerate each other (at first), and being reunited for a fair amount of time should have them way past that point unless their relationship was meant to be a rocky one (which I doubt). I'm not too concerned about the general fandom's reaction(s) because I'm more concerned about what the creative team see in their creative decisions. and it would be disappointing if the creative team didn't care about making their show reasonable.
  9. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Episode 17 is "The Summer Sun Setback," which I plan to review that episode at some point. As for episode 8 "Frenemies," I'm not sure if I'm interested. What do you think, @Metemponychosis? Should I bother with "Frenemies"? Making the Mane 6 look cool at the expense of the alicorn sisters was an easy route, but it was never cool. They want to say that Celestia isn't perfect and can't do anything, but they ended up with her doing nothing productive. Like I said earlier, I'm not against them getting into conflict with each other, but the show should have better things for them to disagree on. And the sisters act like they barely know each other and haven't spent much personal time together even though they've been reunited for some time now. See, I don't know how making Celestia a dumbass is supposed to help anyone or anything because all they did was make her a dumbass. And why would they want to "raise" Twilight to that level? The episode by itself might be fine, but within the context of the show, it sucks. And the context definitely matters when you consider what the characters did and said in the episodes and over the show. If this episode happened much earlier, the context would be different, and a number of things would be changed to fit the continuity at that earlier point. That idea made too much sense for the creative crew.
  10. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    It will be a while before I get to the 3-part finale as I have other episodes to cover, especially the season 9 premiere.
  11. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    Between Dark and Dawn We start the episode with a giant turtle eating the trees at Sweet Apple Acres, and it was apparently with permission from Fluttershy. I don’t know why Fluttershy allowed it to be at this location in the first place, but whatever. It seems that Twilight and Applejack’s questions at the beginning of the episode won’t get answered. The tortoise uses its long tongue to wrap around a tree that Spike happens to be near, and now he’s about to get eaten since he also got grabbed. Twilight formulates a plan to take care of the tortoise, and we see the Mane 6 working as a team, something that doesn’t happen often in 2-part episodes. The tortoise’s mouth is sealed shut, Spike is rescued, and Twilight is about to teleport the tortoise away until the alicorn sisters happen to show up to do the rest of the job. I’m not sure why the sisters initially made some shots, but they eventually restrain the tortoise just before teleporting it away, and Twilight complains about their unneeded/unwanted intervention. Wait a minute. Twilight was about to teleport the giant tortoise away herself, but Celestia and Luna together had to teleport the tortoise away. Maybe it was supposed to come off as a spell being made easier to cast when another caster is around, but it still doesn’t help Celestia and Luna as it took the two of them to do what Twilight was about to do by herself. Maybe the episode didn’t want one of them to dawdle while the other casts the teleportation spell, so that just means that the problem with these 2 alicorns shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. The scene ends with the sisters being thrilled about seeing more action and the Mane 6 looking dumbfounded. What a dreadful and insincere first impression, and I doubt that impression was intentional from the creators. I’d like to comment on this scene, but I’d rather do it after the recap. After the opening credits, Fluttershy and Angel walk over a bridge in Ponyville, and a single stone block falls out. The sisters happen to be nearby again, and Luna sends away the old bridge while Celestia puts a new one in its place. I’d ask where the old bridge went and where the new one came from, but I ultimately don’t give a shit. The other citizens of Ponyville cheer at the sight of them, but Fluttershy is left looking uncertain. RD leads the CMC in the Everfree Forest only to get lost, and the sisters respond by blasting down a few trees to show them their desired campsite. I doubt that 2 alicorns were needed to blast away a few trees, but then I suddenly remembered how weak they were outside of their alleged primary jobs (unless you count being weak as one of their primary jobs). RD also looks uncertain at the end of this scene. On a sidenote, the CMC are apparently scouts known as Filly Guides (or Scouts according to the MLP wiki), and I honestly didn’t know anything about this even though the MLP wiki said that these kinds of scouts have appeared before season 7. Of course, I also don’t give a fuck about this. In Sugarcube Corner, Mrs. Cake panics about forgetting to bake cupcakes for Cheerilee. Pinkie is about to take action until the sisters blow down a wall and decide to bake. I’m surprised the show let them do this as it is usually much more interested in saying what the sisters don’t know or can’t do. By the way, Celestia’s line about “students going hungry” sounded off. This scene ends with Pinkie looking irritated. It seems that Celestia and Luna are going around Ponyville and trying to help with whatever problem they find. I was going to say Equestria at first, but they don’t have superspeed and can’t be in multiple places at once. And no, I’m not alluding to the show making them helpless wimps, but I still have no shortage of comments about that. I was wondering how they decide what problems are worth solving, but the episode decided that they should approach only – well – small problems because that’s funny (not really). I also imagine the sisters being pretty busy around Ponyville because that town still has plenty of ponies, and small problems can range from paper cuts to losing a pencil and a bunch of other shit I’m too lazy to think of. The Mane 6 meet at their Crystal Castle and are concerned about the alicorn sisters not having faith in their abilities to help others. Suddenly, the sisters barge into the meeting room, hoping to learn about more problems they can fix. Twilight thought the sisters would be busy trying to be rulers of Equestria (or at least Celestia would be as “A Royal Problem” pretty much stated that Luna has no political duties, but I’ll be generous and assume that Luna does have political duties to make the ramble simpler), but the sisters respond that their experience during the premiere of the season inspired them to be more hands-on with their help. Pinkie suggests the sisters to go on a vacation, and Twilight decides that she and her friends will perform royal duties to start learning how to be rulers. At the last minute, Celestia mentions an event that needs setting up. Celestia and Luna are then at their castle in Canterlot and are eager to go on their vacation. I think royals in real life are able to make time for vacations, so I don’t know what stopped these alicorns in the first place, but whatever. Celestia wants to go on adventures, but Luna wants to relax. Luna’s reason for preferring relaxation is a bit random when considering what she was doing earlier in the episode as well as saying just over a minute ago that “real life is happening out there,” but whatever again. However, there’s something else I’d like to ask. Luna can (allegedly) handle intense and dangerous scenarios, and Celestia wants excitement, so what stopped either of them from confronting the major villains of the show? Anyways, since the two have different goals for their vacation together, they decide to compromise by taking turns with their preferred activities. Luna brings out shirts for them to wear for their vacation, and Celestia is unhappy for some unknown reason. I’m guessing it’s because they look like tourist outfits (according to Luna), and Celestia wants to go on an adventure (and she later brings supplies for just that), but no one says she can’t wear a tourist shirt to an adventure. The two are about to leave Canterlot, but not before leaving Twilight and friends with a few things. One is an amulet containing a “small part of [their] power.” Ok, there’s some shit that I must talk about. The Mane 6 gasped and recoiled at the prospect of having to raise the sun and moon (or at least Twilight, Spike, and Rarity did as they were the only ones present on-screen during that scene). That scene reiterates that such a duty is a huge and major task, and previous episodes confirmed this. The first time was in season 2 with “Hearth’s Warming Eve” where it was stated that a team of unicorns had to move the sun and moon, which is a pretty good contrast to just a single pony like Celestia and/or Luna. And there’s season 8 with “Horse Play” which stated that unicorns that tried to move the sun and moon lost their magic, but not Celestia and Luna, of course. This ties into my next point, which is Celestia stating that she and her sister put a SMALL PART OF THEIR POWER into the amulet. As in, not much. As in, it doesn’t take too much effort for them to move the sun and moon, but it’s apparently a more difficult task for other ponies. This implies that they’re actually pretty powerful in terms of raw magic. As in, they’re not that weak. So, why were they so weak and helpless in previous episodes? “The show never suggested that they were powerful or even capable fighters. They’re not fit to handle supervillains.” Then what does excluding the sisters accomplish in two-part episodes? Anyways, the Mane 6 are left to set up the Royal Swanifying from the alicorn sisters. RD asks what the point of the event is, but Twilight says that it doesn’t matter as long as they can set it up. That’s an odd response from Twilight as she would want to know the point of the event so their actions and presentation can line up with the intentions. The alicorn sisters are walking around, and pony citizens throughout the episode are in awe at their presence. One scene during the musical montage right after this scene shows ponies even putting out fireworks of them. Too bad I still don’t know what they did to earn such awe. The musical montage shows the sisters enjoying themselves and each other at first before losing enjoyment later in their trip. I’ll admit that I liked seeing the sisters getting along and being sisters as they get to show that they really do love each other and enjoy the other’s presence. I would have liked this kind of scene more if it came MUCH earlier in the show (not necessarily during a vacation, but doing something together while enjoying each other’s presence) and if the show treated them (especially Celestia) with genuine respect. It’s just another reminder that the show never realized its potential. I’m also not against them having conflicts, but more on that later. During the musical montage, they pass a number of characters that have appeared in the show, and Capper is surprisingly among them. Not a bad way to cement that the movie is canon to the show. There’s also a scene where a pony is making a wooden sculpture of Celestia and Luna, but Celestia’s sculpture looks off-model. It’s more than likely a way for the show to remind the viewer what it thinks of her. However, at some point into their vacation, their different desires start to creep onto their time together. Luna is getting tired of Celestia’s excitement, and Celestia is getting bored of Luna’s relaxation. There’s an admittedly funny scene where Luna tears up while watching a play and uses a bored Celestia’s mane to wipe her eyes. Back to Canterlot Castle, and Fancy Pants is surprised to see that the Mane 6 are doing the “royal duties” today. That’s a tad irresponsible for the alicorn sisters to not announce their vacation and who will be in charge during that period. Then again, the show never got the sisters right anyways. Fancy Pants plus his companions (whoever they are) offer their assistance to set up the Royal Swanifying, but Twilight rejects his help because she wants to prove that she and her friends can handle what is asked of them. Fancy Pants and his companions respond in a surprisingly irritated manner, so I guess he doesn’t like being rejected. After they leave, Twilight’s friends also show irritation at her rejection. By the way, I just noticed that Starlight isn’t here. I haven’t seen the season 9 premiere, but I’m guessing that Starlight will be left in charge of the School of Friendship while the Mane 6 (or maybe just Twilight) run Equestria. Twilight reasons that asking for help would imply that they aren’t adequate replacements for ruling Equestria after Celestia and Luna retire. First off, Celestia and Luna would ask for help (as this episode later confirms) when setting up a large event since doing it all themselves would be impractical. I don’t know if they could immediately set everything up if they had a ton of magic, but that’s not important. Celestia and Luna always ask for help, at least when it comes to saving Equestria, so I don’t know why Twilight thought that the alicorn sisters asking for help is such an outlandish idea. Too bad I also don’t know how good the sisters are at handling other duties like setting up events, so I can’t even say that they’re good at doing their regular jobs outside of moving the sun and moon and Luna helping other ponies handle their nightmares. I would’ve liked to see Luna interacting with other kinds of ponies with their nightmares to learn how they see Luna and what they think of her, but I’m going on a tangent. I’d rather finish up recapping the Mane 6’s activities as I’m not nearly as invested in their side of the episode. There’s another short scene later with Fancy Pants pointing out that the setup for the Royal Swanifying is not going too well, and Twilight refuses his help again. Then there’s a final scene with the setup that has the Mane 6 failing to keep up with the schedule, and Twilight wonders how Celestia and Luna handle their jobs. Fancy Pants finally reminds her that Celestia and Luna never do anything by themselves, and the Mane 6 finally assign tasks to other ponies. If the episode actually wanted to show the Mane 6 actually handling themselves as the leaders/rulers of Equestria, it should’ve given them something that a ruler would actually do and not something that doesn’t require political knowledge and/or experience like setting up a random event. Then again, if the episode did show the Mane 6 handling some political task, it would be yet another strike against the show for making the alicorn sisters seem incompetent because we’ve never seen how Celestia handled such tasks, and Luna made a fool of herself in “A Royal Problem” even though she’s supposed to be co-ruler of Equestria. The Mane 6 would no doubt struggle with their first attempt at a royal duty, but this kind of story would also have them pick themselves up to victory. That would at least show the Mane 6 being persistent and capable, which unfortunately can’t be said for Celestia and Luna. Overall, the Mane 6’s antics in this episode ranged from stupid to dull, and the episode should’ve focused on Celestia and Luna completely as they haven’t been given much throughout the show. Then again, it’s too little too late for the sisters, so it probably doesn’t matter what the episode tries. However, whatever stupidity that happens in the episode doesn’t get excused. Back to the alicorn sisters and their vacation, and they both go on a zipline. Celestia is still enjoying herself, but Luna is still feeling tired. Next, they go to a post office so Luna could mail a postcard to Celestia. Luna is excited about being able to do this at all because she thinks her nighttime work prevents her from using the postal service. Actually, that’s not true. She can still get a postcard (unless all places that sell postcards are closed during the night, but she doesn’t need to only mail a postcard), get a stamp (they can still be sold in bulk, so she should be able to get them from her sister), and then drop it in a mailbox so a mailpony can send it out. A better take would be for Luna to get excited about seeing some mailed immediately delivered to her sister, which Luna wouldn’t normally be able to see since she sleeps during the daytime (nevermind that she has been up during the daytime in prior episodes). Or maybe her last line was trying to confirm just that, but it’s actually kind of ambiguous when reading her sentence. Next, Celestia decides that they should explore a cave, which seems to actually be a monster’s mouth. Interestingly, we don’t get to see the monster, but that’s not the point. The point is that she is capable of going up to monsters, so what’s the difference between this and a villain? Next, the two go to a spa to get a makeover. I actually find Celestia’s irritation and boredom quite amusing in this scene. I can see her as a pony who cares about her looks because of her colorful mane and tail as well as being a royal who normally wears golden accessories. So, there are two different kinds of amusement I get from this. The first is simply being bored at getting a makeover as a form of irony since she presumably spends plenty of time on her own looks. The second is that since she wants to do something adventurous and exciting, she will probably get dirty in the process, so the makeover might get ruined and become pointless. Of course, these two kinds of amusements do nothing for me in the long term. A reprise of their song comes next, and they skydive as their next activity. Luna being upset about this activity because it ruined her makeover was also amusing. Their makeover must have been undone very quickly as the next scene with them at an art museum even shows them with their regular vacation looks. Celestia falls asleep on a pony at the museum, and that pony happily takes a picture of herself with the sleeping Celestia, which is also amusing. However, my true feelings about these scenes should be obvious. Eventually, the two can’t agree on their next activity on their list and end up tearing it after a disagreement. And they even get into a hot sibling argument about their off-screen activities in the vacation during their picnic. Luna isn’t happy about hiking through prickly bushes, and Celestia hated the opera with Luna pointing out that they even left early at Luna’s location of choice. I find it somewhat interesting that Celestia doesn’t care for “high art” despite living in a “cultured” community and presumably also having a similarly “cultured” upbringing. It’s possible that she simply wasn’t in the mood for them as she wanted more thrilling activities, but the show would never have been interested in actually exploring any side of Celestia anyways. Another interesting moment has Luna claiming that Celestia would have preferred Luna to be trapped in the moon. I know it’s just part of an average sibling/family argument where one says something nasty and personal about the other out of anger and thus not really meaning what they said, but I really wanted that historic falling out and its various and numerous effects on the sisters to have gotten some attention in the show. And there is yet another interesting line, this time with Celestia saying that she has to be responsible for Luna. This makes an interesting statement about their perception of each other with Luna seeing Celestia as a stiff and bossy older sister and Celestia possibly still seeing Luna as a “baby sister” even though Luna is almost as old as Celestia. A few years (assuming that’s the age gap between them) is essentially nothing if they’re both over 1000 years old. Too bad I was only able to use the word “interesting” as a generic description and not as a compliment because too many things about the sisters are too vague, and I end up not knowing what I’m supposed to think of them. I guess 9 years and 9 seasons wasn’t enough time for the show to examine such ambitious ideas. Or maybe doing so would’ve been too obvious and easy, so the show took a risk and left them in the dust. Anyways, the two argue with their Royal Canterlot voices, and they soon go their separate ways. There’s less than 6 minutes left until the end of the episode, so this fallout feels more artificial than it should as they’re inevitably gonna get back together by the end of the episode. And it doesn’t take long for them to miss each other, which adds to the artificiality that I mentioned. Luna sunbathes at a beach, but she suddenly misses her sister after seeing other sisters playing at the beach. Celestia skydives alone, and she also misses her sister after seeing a fellow skydiving pony pull up a parachute that features both alicorns. A better way for the episode to handle their separation is to show the sisters just going about their vacation by themselves over a longer period of time and not thinking about the other to see what they’re like by themselves and maybe even how their interactions with other ponies differ. Doing that wouldn’t fix the episode, however. Luna ends up sunburned and is at a hospital for treatment. She was apparently unaware of the existence of sunblock. I’d still like to point out that Luna has been out during the daytime multiple times, so it’s more than likely that she has been out during a hot sunny day. Or maybe she hasn’t, at least not for a long time. I don’t know. I don’t even think the show knows Luna’s daily schedule as it likes to say that she’s a night pony, but the show has also stated otherwise. Celestia is lost in a forest and acknowledges Luna’s better sense of direction (if you say so). And Celestia is also afraid of chickens. The episode probably wanted this to pass this phobia off as comedy, but it doesn’t work due to the show also poorly handling Celestia. Maybe I would’ve been more accepting of this if the show had turned out better, but it’s ultimately a pointless hypothetical to discuss. The two soon and accidentally meet while hiking up a mountain (so they were separated during the episode for about 3 minutes), with Celestia wanting to see the moonset and Luna wanting to see the sunrise, which is not a bad way of showing that the two do love and think about each other maybe even unconsciously. They quickly apologize and admit that they’d rather be with each other than away from each other, and that it’s not easy being the little sister or the big sister, whatever all that means. No, really. I don’t know what they mean as their relationship never any insightful exploration at any point. More on this later. The two watch the sunrise, but the sun and moon both move haphazardly. The sisters figure that they need to help Twilight (something that doesn’t happen often), and they fly to Canterlot. They forgot to pick up their bags. Were Celestia and Luna gonna stay until nighttime to watch the moonrise? I suppose their vacation was cut short due to some unexpected trouble. Back in Canterlot, Twilight breaks the amulet while trying to fix it, and the episode ends with Celestia and Luna flying toward Canterlot. So, who’s at fault for the sun and moon haphazardly? I could say Twilight as she was the one controlling their movements with the amulet, but Celestia and Luna were the ones who gave her a defective amulet and didn’t bother to make sure it worked properly. It could’ve said that Twilight messed up the amulet while trying to move the sun and moon, and she wouldn’t look bad for it since she’s inexperienced. So, this may be yet another example of the show accidentally (or not) making Celestia and Luna look stupid. This episode is… not good. Okay, I hated it. There were minor bits that I liked, which I have already pointed out and won’t bother going over again because the episode (and the show by extension) got more things wrong than right at least in regards to the alicorn sisters. I feel like there’s no point in talking about what should have been because they are things that never happened, and I should be looking at what the show ultimately produced, but I can’t because of this episode’s premise. So, I’ll definitely be talking about what should have been because the episode is so broken on a fundamental level. First, I want to get the Mane 6 bullshit out of the way because I’m not nearly as interested in them as I am in the alicorn sisters for this episode. The Mane 6 try to set up an event, but they think that they have to do it all by themselves for some unknown reason. I know that the episode provided the reason, but it doesn’t make sense. The Mane 6 are concerned about Celestia and Luna not appearing to have any faith in them, but note that the episode also had the Mane 6 just recall the sisters’ uselessness throughout the show. So, they’re aware of how useless the previous rulers are, and they’re concerned about having to live up to such precedents? And I already mentioned that Celestia and Luna were always asking for help, so why did Twilight think that she and her friends couldn’t? Did the episode even know what it was doing at this point? And I want to emphasize that all this part of the episode did was show a minor event being put together. In short, NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS WITH THE MANE 6. I would say that the episode should have shown the Mane 6 getting involved in politics simple enough for the intended viewers to understand so there can also be some insight into how Equestria is handled, but that wouldn’t be very satisfactory because we never saw any of that crap with Celestia, so it’s yet another way the show couldn’t help Celestia and instead could only make her look incompetent. Unsurprisingly, there was no winning with the episode, but that doesn’t stop me from being irritated with the final product because these pitfalls were so easy to avoid especially when you consider how many fucking episodes this show has. Now, let’s go over what the episode was mainly about. There was some friction between Celestia and Luna due to their differences, but they learn to value and appreciate the other in spite of those differences. Just read that last sentence, and then remember the background about the two way back in the first episodes of the show. WHY THE HELL IS AN EPISODE LIKE THIS HAPPENING AT THE VERY LAST SEASON OF THE SHOW? Let me remind you that this is also the show’s NINTH season. The show should have better things to do with them at this point, but it doesn’t because it was never productive with Celestia and Luna. A premise like this should’ve happened MUCH sooner in the show’s run. A vacation episode definitely could’ve been a season 1 episode, but season 2 would have been the latest acceptable time for an episode like this to happen. Hell, some personal time together after a long period of separation is already an interesting idea for an early season episode. And as I said before, the show should have better stories to tell about them after more than 200 fucking episodes because there’s so much more to the two than the fact that they are still sisters in spite of their differences. They’ve been back together for more than a fair while now. I’d like to say a few years due to the multiple holiday-themed episodes in the show, but I’ll be generous and assume it’s only about 2 years as I only know of three Summer Sun Celebrations in the show (one at the very beginning of season 1, one at the beginning of season 4, and a third later into this season). The season 1 premiere pretty much stated that they missed each other and want to make amends, and I guess “A Royal Problem” sort of does that. OK, not really, but that’s part of a bigger problem. The point is that they care about each other, so what have they been doing during all this time besides (trying to) rule Equestria? “A Royal Problem” implies that almost nothing happens between them, which doesn’t make any sense, but there’s nothing else that says otherwise. A persistent problem with Celestia and Luna’s characters is that there are too many questions and not nearly enough answers. I guess the crew never gave much real thought to them if they wanted this shit to be their swan song. If they always lacked any interest in exploring them, they really shouldn’t have bothered in the first place as well, and they also shouldn’t have tried to pretend that they were important to the show or Equestria. I also want to note that I’m not against the sisters having a conflict with each other, but what’s wrong with seeing them get along for an episode? A conflict may help create a story to tell over a period of time, but I have a problem when the conflict is as basic as 2 sisters not getting along because of having differing interests. As I keep saying, this would be fine as an early episode where we’re starting to learn about them, but after over 200 episodes, we should be seeing other sides of them. If they were to have another vacation episode this late into the show, they should be already be accepting of the other’s difference instead of reacting with childish disdain. The alicorn sisters only have 2 episodes dedicated to their relationship in the show: this one and “A Royal Problem” from season 7, and both episodes for some unknown reason portrayed them as barely knowing each other even though they’ve been alive together at least 1000 years ago and have been reunited for some amount of time. The fact that both episodes came pretty late into the show doesn’t help their quality. If the show still wants them to get into conflict with each other, what about an episode where they disagree about an approach toward a political task? We would get to see them at work as well as how they would handle a certain problem. An episode like that would be outside of the show’s usual premise, so it can give insight into characters that it probably couldn’t for other characters which can add to this fictional world’s surface appeal as a blend of different kinds of characters. I’ve gone on too long about what should’ve been (and I won’t stop anytime soon), and I should actually start talking about the episode itself because that’s the point of this ramble. I’ve already said that the result still isn’t good especially when considering the context within the show. Let’s start at the beginning with Celestia and Luna showing up and the Mane 6’s reactions, most notably RD’s line, “All the times we've actually needed their help, and they show up for this?” FUCK YOU, ASSHOLES. What does making a joke about their uselessness solve? It definitely wasn’t their intention from the start of the show to make them useless, so this transparent attempt at being a smart-ass becomes even more insulting than it already is, and it just comes off as them not caring about the results. And to say that I felt insulted would be an understatement. I’m also aware that Rainbow Dash also pointed out the alicorn sisters’ uselessness in the season 9 premiere, but I’ll get to that when I eventually get to the actual premiere itself. I can’t gloss over the reactions of dread from the Mane 6, and that makes the issue of the sisters’ uselessness worse than it already is. Their help shouldn’t even be unwanted, but their help is unwanted because they’re helping with trivial problems. Celestia and Luna say that they want to help because didn’t get previous chances to do so, and now they enjoy helping with whatever they find. First, why didn’t they just take the initiative and provide some help themselves during previous major times of crisis? I doubt whatever explanation “The Beginning of the End” may have provided will suffice. Oh, but they couldn’t help earlier because they lacked the capabilities to do so. Like I asked much earlier, what was the point of excluding them if they couldn’t do anything about previous major crises? And why was not letting them make some kind of genuine contribution toward the resolution ever an option? If the sisters always lacked the capabilities of handling 2-part episodes, why not just say so? If the show wants them to be a more like a traditional queen and have them delegate tasks to those who are more capable or are specifically equipped to handle such tasks (kind of like what the Mane 6 did in this episode), why not do that? They should be around Cadance’s size so their size wouldn’t give the wrong idea unless they want to make a point, but I honestly doubt their ability to make that point. Even then, leaving them as alicorns with nothing else about them will still lead to problems especially in a long-running television show, so I don’t know the exact approach it should have taken. Another thing that bothers me is that Celestia and Luna were so wrapped up with trivial problems when they have an entire kingdom/country to manage. Their political duties would and should be more beneficial to Equestria in the long-term than baking cakes. They’re always helping out their country somehow or else it would have collapsed a long time ago. Then again, considering how bad Celestia’s decisions in “Twilight’s Kingdom” were, I’m surprised that hasn’t already happened, but that’s beside the point. Some online comments have said that political duties would be too much or too boring for little girls (even though little girls are likely not the true target audience) to handle. In that case, why not show simpler tasks that a younger viewer can understand like mediating conflicts between two major parties or showing how they keep Equestria safe? Okay, the latter might be too difficult for the show, so how about the decisions they make to make Equestria a comfortable place to live in? I’m no expert in politics, and I’m personally indifferent toward the subject, but I can still see that no episodes ever showed what Celestia and Luna did for Equestria as a whole. Luna may have helped the CMC with their nightmares, but that’s too small. That doesn’t tell me how this helps the entirety of Equestria. I’m gonna go on a tangent for a little bit. I don’t recall Celestia ever helping a pony with their personal problems. I’d like to think that she would do her share of personally helping other ponies considering her general disposition, but the show can’t even confirm any such cases. So, here’s something the show could’ve easily played with a long time ago: how Celestia and Luna are similar and different when interacting with and helping other ponies. Yet another reminder of all the wasted potential. Anyways, the joke with their help over trivial problems wore thin before it was even conceived. And finally, their vacation. I won’t repeat my thoughts about their activities due to lack of interest. Princess Celestia prefers partaking in physical activities and doing dangerous stunts. Like I asked before, since she’s physically capable, why did she not try to confront villains in previous episodes? Performing physical stunts may not be the same as confronting a villain, but the episode still suggests that she could confront danger if she wanted to. Oddly, Luna preferred more relaxing activities for her vacation even though she was raring to go at the beginning of the episode, but I’ll just assume that she has other ideas for killing time when she’s on vacation. However, the fact that she has to, and in her words, handle intense dreams means that she could also confront danger if she wanted to. If dealing with villains was always too much for them, I’ll still repeat their exclusion would still make no sense. This is already a bad start for the show in deciding their capabilities (why is it still deciding and uncertain at this point?!), and the problem is compounded by the fact that this is the last season of the show. The creative team knows that this is their last season, and they’re showing it through episode titles and with Celestia and Luna retiring as rulers and handing over their reigns to the Mane 6. You’d think that they did plenty over the course of nine seasons, right? After being reunited for so long, Celestia and Luna might wanna reflect on their time (professional and personal) and accomplishments together for Equestria and how much more they did as a team than as individuals. Since they also had a falling out and would presumably want to mend their relationship, they could even reflect on what they’ve done for each other. There could be a compare and contrast between their past relationship and their new relationship, and we could see how much their lives improved when they had each other with past episodes that focused on them. Those premises like that may sound cheesy and overly sentimental, but they still makes sense as they know that they’re about to retire. Well, a talented and competent creative team could still make the episode work in spite of or because of those sentiments, but the team for this show isn’t talented or competent. It’s too bad that the best accomplishment Celestia ever had in the show was saving a play in season 8. It’s fine on paper as a single accomplishment, but that’s the only time she was ever given an episode. That’s right. All Celestia ever did in the show was save a stupid ass play. How is this an accomplishment worthy of a princess whose reign lasted for over 1000 years? So, there can’t even be an episode that looks at their accomplishments when there are none to brag about or their relationship when the show doesn’t even know what it supposed to be. The show will try to say that the Mane 6 have much to live up to, but you wouldn’t know that by watching every episode. It looks like I still have a few more episodes to watch and cover. There’s “The Summer Sun Setback,” which has the Mane 6 doing something for the alicorn sisters, and I doubt the final product will be praiseworthy. I may or may not talk about “Sparkle’s Seven.” And there are the final episodes of the show, which will be 3 episodes long – a usual two-parter followed by a single epilogue episode. I was hoping to have fewer episodes to cover, but whatever. If I end up talking about the three-part finale without talking about “Sparkle’s Seven,” that means I won’t be covering “Sparkle’s Seven.”
  12. These kinds of things are team efforts. Even though the writer is an important part of production, they aren't responsible for everything.
  13. Number95

    Season 9, Episode 13: Between Dark and Dawn

    @WaterPulse@Metemponychosis It sounds like the episode wasn't so good, and I can't say that I'm surprised because I don't know how one fixes 9 years of fuck ups. I think Celestia in concept is fine. It's the creative team that needs to stay away from the alicorn sisters. Since season 6? I don't think they were ever handled well outside of rather minor moments in the case of Celestia and outside of CMC dream episodes for Luna. I guess Celestia may have been fine in season 1, but the show's later fuck ups just make her season 1 self look worse or at the very least not help her season 1 self.
  14. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    I'm wondering if I should review the season 9 premiere first or wait until all of it has aired to see how the season began and ended. The show is pretty episodic, so I might instead ramble about "Sparkle's Seven" (assuming I'm interested enough) or "Between Dark and Dawn" (more likely as it features the alicorn sisters, but I'm not expecting much) before the season premiere.
  15. Number95

    Another MLP:FIM review thread

    School Raze The episode first shows Derpy delivering mail to the school. I remember Derpy being portrayed as a mailpony among the fandom, but I don’t remember why nor do I even care why. Thus, I don’t really care to see her right now. I feel like mentioning that I never cared for Derpy, not even when she first spoke in “The Last Roundup” from season 2. Wow, what a long time ago. As befitting of her name, she crashes into the school and drops her mail, with Cozy Glow picking up after her as well as trying to help around the school. Outside of “School Daze” and “Horse Play,” I haven’t seen the other season 8 episodes, so I don’t know what the show has done with her before this episode. So, my comments about Cozy Glow will only apply to whatever she does in this episode. Apparently, she is already Twilight’s friendship assistant. Outside of providing some help, I have no idea what that purpose position is supposed to serve. One certainly doesn’t need to be a “friendship assistant” just to be helpful. I could think of another pony who should sign up for a position like that, but given the show’s nature, she would fuck up her application. I know that Cozy Glow is trying to conceal her villainous nature because she would otherwise have just attacked right then and there (or sooner even), but that position still seems random to me because it doesn’t seem to have any real purpose. Twilight is in her office doing her thing, and she realizes that she’s late for a field trip to Cloudsdale with some students. Thankfully, Cozy Glow patched that problem ahead of time as well as helping with various other small tasks, which are all met with praise and gratitude from Twilight. Twilight even wondered aloud what she would do without Cozy Glow. Too bad some certain alicorn was never this helpful to Twilight. I know Cozy Glow is trying to look good to avoid suspicion, but it’s fucking bullshit that even a character with a hidden villainous nature is still more genuinely productive despite having ulterior motives than the major figure Twilight has a personal connection to and also looks up to. This may be a petty complaint, but that’s how I feel because I hate wasted potential. I’ll talk more about that wasted potential later. Next, it’s Rainbow Dash conducting the field trip at Cloudsdale. Starlight has casted a spell to allow non-pegasus characters to walk on the clouds, but one of the students suddenly falls through a cloud. She tries to use her magic to lift the student, but her horn fizzles instead, and then all other wingless characters including herself start falling as well. The winged characters save the wingless characters, and RD and Starlight report this disaster to Twilight. Twilight thinks that Starlight might have done something wrong, and what follows is an amusing moment with Starlight showing explicit irritation. Her facial expression really sells it. Twilight tries to get a book off a shelf only for the book to unexpectedly drop because her own magic also fizzled, and Starlight immediately shoots back with the same comment. It’s an admittedly good way of showing that Starlight is not only aware of her magical competence but also proud of it. Now if only another magical pony could’ve shown any kind of actual competence and power in the show. Yes, I’m that petty, and I won’t stop making these petty complaints. Rarity show ups and also reveals that her spells aren’t working, and now the main characters are fully aware of this mysterious problem. Cozy Glow mentions another villain creature that consumes magic (do all centaurs consume magic?), and I didn’t know that Tirek was mentioned in one of the season 8 episodes, not that I cared to know. Spike barges through the door, but he chokes on a letter from Princess Celestia because of the failing magic. Hey, he has wings, and it was definitely after “Horse Play” as he was wingless in that episode. Needless to say, I also don’t care about this development. By the way, how does Princess Celestia send letters through Spike? When Twilight does it, Spike just scorches the letter with his presumably magical flames. What does Princess Celestia use? I guess her own magic. Oh goody, one instance where Princess Celestia can do something slightly useful with her magic. The main characters plus Cadance get the letter and head to Canterlot to discuss the situation. A mailpony suddenly appears during the discussion, and I’m surprised that it’s not Derpy as she appeared at the beginning of the episode. It’s a letter from Star Swirl. He reports and confirms that magic is fading from all over Equestria. Outside of occasionally sending letters through Spike and I guess moving the sun, I can’t imagine Princess Celestia actually getting affected that much. By the way, Luna mentioned potions also failing at the beginning of the discussion. So, I guess potions need magic to function as well? I don’t remember if that was the case at all in the show as ponies would just mix random ingredients to make potions. Then again, potions tend to be magical in fiction, so whatever. Star Swirl, being an actual expert with magic and spells, reports that Equestria’s magic will fade away forever if the problem is left unchecked. Cadance asks why this is happening, but Luna replies that she and her sister don’t have an answer. You know, their usual response to any problem or mystery. The sisters should magically record that statement and play it on repeat every time they appear, complete with dummies of themselves if they so wish. Then again, magic isn’t working right now, so a verbal statement was always going to be necessary. Twilight suggests checking on Tirek, and a weird scene happens where Twilight verbally acknowledges that relying on friends is a good thing. Um, didn’t she know that since the FIRST SEASON of the show? Did she somehow decide in a season 8 episode that asking a friend for help was a dumb idea so she could immediately be proven wrong for the sake of this episode? Celestia says that she and her sister will try to protect Equestria while the Mane 6 are away at Tartarus. By “try to protect Equestria,” she really means that she and Luna will sit on their asses and wait for a miracle. I suppose the show is acknowledging that the Mane 6 are better protectors of Equestria so the sisters wouldn’t have to get sloppily tossed aside for the sake of the story, but that acknowledgement doesn’t solve anything because the sisters still won’t do anything in this episode and are thus still sloppily tossed aside yet again. Luna also mentions that Tartarus has changed since the end of season 4. So, were there random creatures and/or characters tossed into that area? I don’t remember that happening in seasons 5 or 6, so did seasons 7 and 8 do something with that area? Maybe the show wants to imply that the alicorn sisters haven’t been as inactive as previously shown, but that also solves nothing because they have still contributed nothing to 2-part episodes including this one. And it’s also hard for me to believe that either of them could actually seal someone away at Tartarus because they are pretty weak outside of using magic for their own special tasks. Luna also warns the Mane 6 to be cautious as they (or the ponies with horns) won’t have magic to defend themselves, but AJ reassures her that friendship will let them withstand the dangers in this expedition. Good thing the Mane 6 has something to help them through obstacles without magic. What do Princess Celestia and Luna have? If they both went into Tartarus, they would immediately get into some deep shit just so the episode can demonstrate how dangerous the area is while needing the Mane 6 to save them so the Mane 6 can also look competent. Twilight leaves Starlight in charge of the school while the others are away. She even tells Starlight to contact Princess Celestia in case of trouble, but I don’t know how Starlight could contact Celestia without Spike. And even if that weren’t an issue, what could Celestia possibly help with if she appeared? Oh right, help Starlight look competent by being a helpless fucking idiot. Cozy appears and has already packed food for the Mane 6’s expedition, and that also included Starlight because she was under the assumption that Starlight would also be gone. Cozy Glow’s surprise is admittedly not a bad way of trying to unravel her later villainy. She also referenced another season 8 episode which seems to have involved Discord, but again, I don’t care. I don’t know why she made a sad face right after learning that Starlight was staying. Obviously, she wasn’t happy about her plans getting ruined, but what was she hoping and/or trying to express to the other characters? Anyways, she settles for being Starlight’s assistant. The episode cuts to the next morning with Cozy Glow addressing the students and announcing that she was in charge. It’s a rather odd cut as it was previously still daytime, and Starlight’s disappearance was also oddly sudden as the episode didn’t show what she did while in charge. One of the characters from the Student 6 (Young 6 seems to be the “unofficial” term at least among fans and/or the MLP wiki, but I prefer the alliteration) points out Starlight’s sudden disappearance, Cozy responds that Starlight left a note saying that she decided to also head to Tartarus. But another student thought that Starlight would have said all this in person instead of writing a note. It seems that Twilight and friends personally announced their leave and Starlight being in charge to the students off-screen because if that didn’t happen, there would be no reason for the student to not mention Starlight’s disappearance being so odd. Cozy even assigns the student extra homework as “punishment,” and the rest of the 6 also demand extra homework as a strange way of showing unity because I don’t know who would intentionally want more homework. Couldn’t they just help that one student with his or her homework to the same effect? The episode then shows the Mane 6 still traveling to Tartarus. I remember the path being quite long as Twilight took a day to get there back in season 2, but it also helped that she ran to save some time, so these ponies need to move faster if they want to save Equestria in time. That will happen of course, but they don’t know that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the episode threw random and/or dumb roadblocks if Princess Celestia and Princess Luna (or just the former, really) took this trip instead. Pinkie also checked her cupcakes, which are shown to have already spoiled because magic couldn’t keep them cool, and that is kind of weird as actual cupcakes don’t spoil that fast even if left out of the fridge, but whatever. Back to the school, and a number of students are happy with Cozy Glow’s directions. Two of the Student 6 are suspicious of Cozy Glow because she seems too nice. They aren’t aware of her villainy yet, so why do they distrust her for being too nice? Their usual school figures are nice, so what are the students so uncomfortable about? I don’t know if another previous episode gave something of an answer, and as usual, I don’t care. Cozy Glow emerges from the school’s catacombs in the library, which is where the Student 6 happen to be studying. The students then follow her. At least this setup makes some sense as the library is a decent place to study at. I’m also guessing the catacombs were featured in a previous episode because they weren’t in “School Daze,” and my feelings about this should also be obvious. The Mane 6 finally arrive at Tartarus, and the entrance hasn’t been tampered with, so Tirek hasn’t escaped. However, they still want to actually visit him, and the door requires magic to be opened, which is out of service right now. Good thing Spike found some magical key that I never heard of, which really highlights its convenience. Was this mentioned in another episode? The key opens the door to Tartarus and shatters right afterward. If Cozy Glow knew that would happen, it’s not a bad way to keep the Mane 6 at bay. The Mane 6 enters, and the door closes immediately after them. How do doors like this in fiction know how long to stay open and when to close? They notice that all of the magical creatures imprisoned in Tartarus are unable to use their natural abilities as the result of the loss of magic, which also means that they run on magic. I thought those creatures’ own abilities were more like superpowers instead of magical abilities, but then Tirek drained magic from earth and pegasus ponies who later then lost their abilities, and those kinds of ponies don’t use “magic” like the way unicorns do. So it seems that all (or almost all) creatures in Equestria run on magic. The Mane 6 encounter Cerberus, but he’s acts friendly around them as he remembers Fluttershy back from season 2, and they head to Tirek without any trouble. Meanwhile, Cozy Glow enters her office only to find Chancellor Neighsay inside. He wonders where Twilight is, and Cozy tells him that she is away, which pisses him off because Twilight left while Equestria is in a crisis. It seems that he is still as clueless as he was 23 episodes ago. How is he still not aware of Twilight and friends being the saviors of Equestria? I know early seasons had average pony citizens not acknowledging this, but the Mane 6’s status is now more widely known as the students have proven in “School Daze.” He thinks that the foreign creatures, i.e. 5 of the Student 6, are to blame for this despite having no proof. I know he has a blind prejudice toward non-ponies, but it’s still pretty dumb for the same reason I didn’t care much for him back at the beginning of the season. He and Cozy catch the Student 6 eavesdropping on them, and Neighsay doesn’t hesistate to bind them with magical chains. I thought unicorn magic was supposed to have stopped working. Potions are said to no longer work, but on the other hand, the magical key to Tartarus did work, so magical items apparently run on a different rule than casted magic. He may have used his medallion, but the medallion then connected to his horn, which consequently created the magical chains. Am I missing something? He throws the students into a dorm room and is about to leave until the pony of the Student 6 decides that he no longer wants anything to do with his “former” friends, much to their shock. He definitely won’t abandon them because they been together for this entire season (not to mention they’re getting some focus in this episode), and blindly following Neighsay’s beliefs would be such a stupidly shallow reason to ditch them. He needs to get help, but he can’t do that if he’s tied up, and he’s also the only one out of his friends who can actually leave to do so. How odd that Neighsay would blindly accept this pony’s sudden change of heart, but whatever. He probably just wanted to hear the pony say that. The escaped pony goes to Sweet Apple Acres to get Apple Bloom and her friends for help. The Mane 6 encounter Tirek, but he’s not directly responsible for the disappearing magic because he would otherwise be much larger. They demand some answers from him, but he only intends to spill if he is freed. During the conversation, the Mane 6 have discovered that they have no means of escape, which causes Tirek to spill anyways. He reveals that he has been communicating with Cozy Glow and told her how to drain magic from Equestria. Wow, even he’s more knowledgeable about pony magic than Princess Celestia. Then again, Star Swirl himself also has no immediate answer, and Tirek is all about draining magic, so I guess it’s not all bad, not that it helps anything. By the way, how did Tirek and Cozy Glow even communicate? Sure, they could use letters, but who would deliver them to Tartarus? Does Tartarus even have a mail delivery service? Did Cozy Glow just go to Tartarus herself? That can’t be the case as Tirek said that he never met Cozy Glow in person. How would Tirek even send his responses to Cozy Glow? For that matter, how would Cozy Glow even receive the responses? Ah well, even though communicating as pen pals seems impossible given the circumstances, I probably would’ve rolled with it anyways. The Cutie Mark Crusaders plus the escaped pony head down to the catacombs of the school only to find an area with magical artifacts glowing and an incapacitated Starlight being trapped in a sphere containing all of the magic of Equestria. Those artifacts don’t look like they’re from “Shadow Play” as I don’t see a shield or flower, so these new artifacts came up this season. Cozy Glow finally reveals her villainy and that she ultimately wants to send all of Equestria’s magic it to another realm, wherever that might be. This kind of reminds me of “Twilight’s Kingdom” where Celestia said that magic can’t disappear and has to be transferred somewhere, which is what Cozy Glow’s plan is following. I still wonder what happens when a magical blast dissipates after hitting an object to no effect. I guess the object just absorbs the magic and nothing else. Cozy Glow believes that friendship is power (and not magic) and wants all that power for herself to become the ruler of Equestria. I can’t say that she’s wrong since friendship (more specifically, a specific kind of friendship) has powered the Elements of Harmony, but those elements only work under genuine friendship (excluding that time that Celestia operated them by herself, but whatever). And friendship only becomes “magic/power” with magical artifacts. I don’t know where or how she will get any actual raw power to rule Equestria (I mean, she can’t move the sun or moon, and she can’t facilitate Equestria’s natural processes, so she better be prepared to rule a dead Equestria) or even give herself an edge against her opposers, so Cozy Glow’s plans doesn’t make a lot of sense. Part 2. Now that the Mane 6 have learned about Cozy Glow’s villainy, they try to exit Tartarus and rush back to the school to catch her. However, the ponies have lost their magic, so they have no way to opening the door. Twilight then thinks of using the magic from the creatures in Tartarus to solve this as they only lose theirs after the second day. At least it makes sense for Twilight to think of this since she’s the most proficient in magic out of the group. At the catacombs, the CMC try to rescue Starlight, but they encounter some trouble after Sweetie Belle steps into the magical circle containing the artifacts. The magical orb Starlight is trapped in responds by trying to grab Sweetie Belle, but the other ponies manage to pull her out in time. This must be how Cozy trapped Starlight, but I wonder how she convinced Starlight to step in that area from the start. I’m guessing other season 8 episodes gave some answers, and you should know how I feel about that. Or since Cozy Glow seems so trusting, Starlight could have followed along. Sweetie Belle notes that they aren’t able to contact anyone else for help, not even Princess Celestia. I mean, how could that alicorn possibly help? If she were here, she would walk into the circle (which wouldn’t be bad by itself, but that wouldn’t be enough for the show), and the CMC would fail to save her. Then, they’ll panic because an alicorn princess got captured even though the captured alicorn princess is worth less than nothing. On a sidenote, I don’t know if I just didn’t hear the CMC’s voices for so long, but they sound very noticeably older now especially when compared to their earlier appearances. Obviously, their voice actresses have grown up and have gotten deeper over the years. And Jesus Christ, roughly 8 years as of this episode getting recorded. That’s a fair percentage of their lives from their perspectives. It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear this, but the differences are still quite astounding. Special mention goes to Sweetie Belle, whose voice is definitely the one that changed the most. She sounds nothing like her earlier voices. In the dorm room with Student 6 sans the pony, the griffon tries to escape by through the door, but no go as it’s locked. Have they tried breaking down the door or the window? And why are they no longer chained up? Did Neighsay’s chain spell wear off? I guess it could since the magic in Equestria is getting weaker, but I don’t know how he conjured up the chains at all since it was after all ponies were supposed to have lost their magic. They are also uncertain about their pony friend’s allegiance due to his sudden betrayal, but the hippogriff wants to think that he only left to find some answers. She should get a prize. Or should she? She wasn’t certain about her answer, after all. And the pony shows up right afterward to prove her right. He was also holding a crowbar, so opening the window definitely was an option, even if it was locked. Like I said, they could’ve tried to break something. The remaining students learn of Cozy Glow’s treachery, and they all decide to inform Neighsay as they currently have no better options to take. It's the morning of the third day, so no more magic from all creatures. Neighsay addresses the students by saying that (he thinks) the school is safe, which really isn’t that reassuring as he doesn’t seem to have any answers or plans about the disappearing magic and what he plans to do if the situation isn’t solved. He also announces that he intends to have the school run under EEA methods. Princess Celestia did say that the EEA overlooks all schools in Equestria, so I guess he would want to claim the one that already isn’t under the EEA for the sake of completion, but I didn’t know he was this desperate. I would think that he had better things to do after failing to approve the School of Friendship, but I guess not. On the other hand, Neighsay did come into the school so he could protect it from foreign creatures. I don’t know how he actually plans enforce that idea if there was a genuine threat, but whatever. And he wouldn’t know any other way of running a school, so I guess he might as well. This gives Cozy Glow an opportunity to convince the students to rally up against him. She reminds everyone including him that Twilight (and possibly her friends) is/are well-loved and that he also tried to take down the school at the beginning of the season, and Neighsay then realizes how screwed he is. I also want to point out that Cozy Glow mentioned Twilight getting approval from Princess Celestia and Luna. Did Princess Luna actually do anything with or at the school in this season? Actually, I could also ask the same for Celestia. She did show up in “School Daze,” but she didn’t do anything with or at the school. And considering how worthless the sisters are (or at least Celestia is), does their approval actually help? Good thing Twilight is pretty well-loved because she and her friends (presumably) put love and care into running the school, which makes the students happy, and that makes the Mane 6 happy, etc. Too bad such a compliment can’t apply to the alicorn sisters, or at least Princess Celestia. Sure, there were pony citizens who admired her, but she hasn’t shown how or why she earned such admiration. Anyways, Cozy manages to regain control while the students chain Neighsay to a chair in Twilight’s office. After the students leave, Cozy unveils her villainy and some of her plans to Neighsay, and then she leaves only to meet the Cutie Mark Crusaders outside. The CMC distract Cozy Glow while the Student 6 free Neighsay and also tell him that Cozy Glow is responsible for the disappearing magic (something Cozy didn’t tell Neighsay earlier). Neighsay wants to notify the alicorn sisters about this, but that would be a stupid move on his part, not that I’m blaming him for wanting to try. From his (and other characters’ perspective), the sisters are important and “powerful” figures. It’s just a shame that the show prefers to feed them shit during episodes like this. Moving on, Neighsay may not be able to use his own magic to contact the sisters, but he can use his medallion to visit them, and he does just that. Right before leaving, he also points out that it was able to chain the students earlier, so the medallion and other magical artifacts (remember that the artifacts draining magic from Equestria also need magic to do their things) work differently from potions and pony magic for some reason. Back at Tartarus, Tirek gloats about attaining a victory over the Mane 6 because they will be stuck in Tartarus with no way to escape. However, Twilight points out that since he’s also in Tartarus, he will be will be stuck with them, i.e. his mortal enemies. Too bad Celestia and Luna don’t have any mortal enemies. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing the idea of having mortal enemies because real life is an ass hole, or at least a much bigger one than fiction. But since this is fiction, having a mortal enemy (or even just a regular enemy) means that some antagonistic character “cares” about a certain character. That last sentence sounds awkward especially if you read it aloud, but hopefully I got my point across. For example, Tirek hates the Mane 6 more than he does the non-Twilight alicorns, so that means he doesn’t think much of those other alicorns. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he would be indifferent about being trapped with the non-Twilight alicorns, but which scenario is more meaningful? Tirek getting trapped with the Mane 6 or Tirek getting trapped with Celestia, Luna, and Cadance? What actual reason would he have to hate the latter’s guts? Those 3 alicorns wouldn’t be happy to live with him as he’s power-hungry and evil, but the Mane 6 would also have that same reason to not want to live with him. Looking from Tirek’s perspective, what reason would he have to hate Celestia, Luna, and Cadance outside of them being ponies he failed to steal magic from? He doesn’t know anything about them, and he barely interacted with them. Scratch that, he interacted only with Celestia in “Twilight’s Kingdom” and didn’t look at the other 2 alicorns. And even during that moment, all Tirek encountered was 3 powerless and helpless alicorns. None of the major villains in the show have much of a reason to give a fuck about any of the non-Twilight alicorns. Nightmare Moon is sorely underused, and Celestia’s and Luna’s relationship is nonexistent in the show. Discord is one of the good guys now, but if he weren’t, what reason would he have to be concerned with ponies who aren’t the Mane 6? Only the Elements of Harmony (and thus the Mane 6) can harm him. Everyone else is fuck all to him. Chrysalis only wants to get revenge against Starlight or the Mane 6. And what reason would she have to give a fuck about Celestia, the only non-Twilight alicorn she conversed with that she also barely knows? Cadance and Shining Armor did take care of the Changelings, but it doesn’t look like she even cares. Sombra could see Cadance and Shining Armor as enemies since the latter two run the Crystal Empire. I read that he takes Flurry Heart as hostage at the beginning of season 9, but I don’t know what else he does in the episode or if he even interacts with Cadance of Shining Armor. Celestia and Luna did beat him 1000 years prior, but did he ever do anything with them on-screen? Starlight would be the next major villain, but she’s also a good guy now. Even if she actually gave a shit about the other alicorns before meeting the Mane 6, those other alicorns would be inactive because they’re not the main characters of the show. If she did incapacitate them, that would just further downgrade their images. Right now, she only respects the other alicorns because she’s supposed to. No real reason is given. The the Pony of Shadows and Stygian haven’t interacted with the other alicorns. Finally, there’s Cozy Glow, who (sort of) knows that friendship is the most powerful magic in Equestria, so she also doesn’t have a reason to think much of those other alicorns. And it’s not like she does in this episode. Remember that she didn’t bother sending the other alicorns away on a wild goose chase. Good God, how they have sunk below rock bottom. Even a FUCKING FILLY (i.e. a child) doesn’t see them as threats. If it isn’t obvious, Celestia, Luna, and Cadance have not proven their worth to the villains of the show outside of a very few instances, and those only apply to Cadance. Like I keep saying, since those 3 alicorns, especially the sisters, do nothing against the villains (again, except for a few instances with Cadance), there isn’t much if any meaning if a villain hates one of them. At the very least in the case of Princess Celestia, I’d say she hasn’t proven that she has any kind of worth. Back to the actual episode. Twilight devises a plan to escape from Tartarus while her friends help that plan move forward. At least the episode isn’t making the other main characters inconsequential like in a number of other 2-parters. Well, except for Spike. I can’t think of anything significant he has contributed so far. Tirek even decides to pitch in because he doesn’t want Pinkie annoying the fuck out of him. Pinkie even claims that she can annoy him forever, so I guess she doesn’t need to eat or sleep. Hooray for the Mane 6, I guess. They were able to break out of a mystical prison without magic and with their own wits (or at least Twilight’s wits) and abilities. Too bad I can’t imagine the non-Twilight alicorns figuring out a way to escape from Tartarus if they were in the Mane 6’s position. The writers would make them encounter an obstacle they can’t overcome and would then have to wait for the Mane 6 to come up with a plan to save them and Equestria. So, even though the intention was to show the Mane 6 being resourceful and capable even without magic, the Mane 6 still don’t end up looking that impressive to me. At the school, the CMC are still with Cozy Glow. Cozy Glow manages to trick the 3 into a cleaning closet, and that’s that for the CMC in the episode. I was hoping they could do a little more now that they’re slightly older (complete with cutie marks) and this 2-parter being their first one to participate in, so it’s too bad they were tricked so easily, but at the same time, I don’t care that much even though I feel like I should. At least they contributed more than Celestia and Luna ever did inside and outside of this episode. There’s also an amusing moment in the background with a random school pony looking freaked out and then backing away after seeing Cozy Glow talk back to the closet door. Next scene, the Student 6 go back to the catacombs to free Starlight. They now figure out that the artifacts are absorbing the magic from all over Equestria and gathering it into the orb that Starlight is currently trapped in. From the way the characters are talking, this sounds like a reference to another episode that I won’t watch. I find it interesting that the artifacts took Starlight herself and not just her magic, so I guess a magical being stepping into that magical circle of artifacts is different from some distant object or person containing magic since there isn’t much of a difference between taking magic from something 2 feet away and that same thing 2000 miles away other than proximity. Removing an artifact from its position will release all of the magic, but that turns out not to be a good idea as all the magic will be released too quickly and create an explosion in the meantime. Not a bad additional hurdle to put up so the problem wouldn’t solved so easily, but I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing the School of Friendship getting blown up. Too bad Cozy Glow and the other students (under misdirection) of the school emerge into the catacombs to stop the Student 6. How many characters before this episode were familiar with the area? Was it meant to be a secret at all? Like I said, this wasn’t featured in “School Daze,” but that could instead be due to time constraints. Meanwhile, the creatures at Tartarus plus Tirek have given their magic to Twilight so she could cast a spell to open the gates. She’s successful, and the Mane 6 plus Spike all escape. However, they seem to be too late as the sun has now set on the third day. That’s a tad weird as it seemed to be the second day when Twilight first thought of obtaining magic from the creatures in Tartarus, and they don’t lose their magic until the end of the second day. I wonder if misinterpreted the pacing. Another guess I have is that the creatures relinquished their internal magic because those creatures split into separate animals after giving it to Twilight, and the internal magic is what makes them not quite regular animals. Cerberus split into 3 regular dogs, the cockatrice split into a chicken and a snake, and the manticore split into a lion and a scorpion to name a few examples. So even though the ponies and other creatures lost their magic, the lost magic didn’t include their internal magic. When the ponies completely lost their magic in “Twilight’s Kingdom” (meaning their internal magic as well), their eyes turned into a dull color (except the alicorns sans Twilight, and I could go on a tangent why that happened, but I won’t), and that didn’t happen here even though they already lost their magic after the first day. Back to the school again, Cozy Glow has tricked the other students into thinking that the Student 6 (especially the foreign students) are trying to destroy the school and eliminate magic from Equestria. Starlight gets another amusing moment with her facial expression when the Student 6 are blamed for trapping her. The other students rush at the Student 6, and a struggle ensues. The griffon crashes and falls into the magical orb with Starlight, and his friends try to rescue him only to also get trapped. A vortex opens up beneath the big magical orb to transport it to who-knows-where. A few of the pony students wonder if the Student 6 should be rescued because they displayed some friendship, and not rescuing them would also go against what they learned. The Elements of Harmony are even mentioned as aspects of friendship that were taught. There’s definitely more to friendship than just those 6 elements, but they’re also not bad starting points. Cozy Glow tries to leave the trapped characters to their fates, and the pony students follow along. I thought a few of them would go against her commands, but conformity proved to be too powerful. I also thought that at least another few would want to at least rescue Starlight. While the ponies try to leave, the area lights up (how come in fiction, no one ever notices these kinds of glows?), and it seems that the Tree of Harmony (not all of the magic from Equestria has disappeared just yet, it seems) has saved the Student 6 by pulling them out of that magical orb. Too bad it left Starlight out. Who knew the Tree of Harmony was such an ass hole? It only chose to save a specific group of people while leaving another good pony (even if her redemption was sloppy) for dead. The Student 6 are glowing with magic as they are now the successors for wielding the Elements of Harmony. Or maybe they’re just another set of characters who can wield the Elements. The Pillars were able to use their version of the Elements back at the end of season 7 despite being gone for so long. Anyways, the Student 6 are freed and each pull an artifact away from the magical circle, and now all of the magic that has been trapped is now released into Equestria and its inhabitants. I guess the risk of an explosion was false, but they were admittedly uncertain of the outcome at first. Then again, all of the artifacts were pulled away instead of one, but I doubt those 2 scenarios are that different. Whatever, I’ll go with my first guess. The magic has returned to the inhabitants of Equestria including the folks at Tartarus. The animals have become “mythological” creatures again, and the Mane 6 as well as the royals regain their magic and immediately head to the school. Celestia and Luna may have gathered up their guards to try and take on Cozy Glow, but it’s still worth nothing that the two have done nothing. Remember that the last time we saw them was at the beginning of part 1 giving exposition. Twilight teleports herself and her friends to the school to confront Cozy Glow about her motivations, and Cozy Glow thought that being headmare means that she could have more friends and thus more power. I don’t know how many of the students at the school are actually Twilight’s friends. On the surface, they’d just have a professional relationship instead of a platonic one. And like I said earlier, friendship generally needs some kind of magic or artifact to actually be powerful, otherwise it’s just plain old friendship. It’s also worth pointing out that the other friendships in Equestria have not amounted to anything. More on that later. Cozy Glow is finally caught and captured, and things are back to normal with the School of Friendship. Neighsay admits that Twilight Sparkle is the best pony to run the school and that friendship should only be for ponies. It’s not like he ever understood what the point of the school was or got insight into his beliefs, so his compliment is pretty hollow. The Student 6 try to practice for graduation because they think that saving Equestria means that they’re done with school, but that’s obviously not the case. It’s not like one would ever finish learning about friendship as all friendships are different and also change over time, so everyone will experience new and different things all the time. This seems more like a throwback to Starlight’s victory at the end of season 6 and Twilight at the beginning of season 7 thinking that Starlight was ready to graduate from her studies, only for Starlight to admit that she wasn’t ready just yet. Oh, and the CMC finally bust out of the closet. Too bad they missed all the action. Finally, the episode ends with Princess Luna putting a caged Cozy Glow next to a caged Tirek. I wonder if the she or Celestia was ever told about those two working together because putting their cages together like that is a stupid move. Then again, these are two stupid alicorns who don’t know how to handle villains, and it wouldn’t be above the show to exclude the alicorn sisters from learning useful information. For example, they never learned about the Mane 6’s first experience with Starlight. The episode ends with Cozy Glow getting acquainted with Tirek, and the beginning of season 9 shows them teaming up with other villains, so these 2 did end up getting acquainted. The show is willing to immediately follow up with a recent pairing of 2 villains (and maybe for more episodes in season 9), but it didn’t bother showcasing the alicorn sisters for an entire episode until 7 seasons in, and even that episode had to be shared with another pony. *sigh* I think my overall feelings about the episode are obvious, but I’ll state them in case they aren’t. I was indifferent about almost everything, and you can see this over the ramble as I often went on a tangent about Princess Celestia (and sometimes Luna) being powerless or helpless at other points in the show as well as this episode. It should also be obvious that I don’t care about the Student 6 as I didn’t differentiate them outside of their species. They displayed their basic personalities, but I still didn’t care to take note of them. Notice that I didn’t even bother to name them over the recap. I could easily find out their names through the MLP wiki, and I do know some of their names, but using their names wouldn’t show my indifference well enough. A lot of the reasons I don’t care for this episode have already been stated in “School Daze”: the show had better things to do, but now it’s too late for them because of new gimmicks that have been introduced. Season 8 needed to follow through with its gimmicks so they don’t become pointless and/or meaningless. Too bad they didn’t bother following through with Celestia or Luna in the early seasons, Cadance after season 2, or Twilight’s position as an alicorn princess, all of which initially came with their share of mysteries. Since this show has some continuity, pretty much everything that has occurred up to this point was built on what came before, and I don’t like what has come before. Granted, major turns have mostly happened at the beginning or end of a season, but the show gives those points of the season the most weight. It doesn’t help that more of my interest lies in those bigger episodes, and those episodes generally being unimpressive or worse for whatever reason doesn’t help. In a way, I’m commenting more on “what should’ve been” instead of “what is,” but I still don’t like the “what is.” I mentioned 2 things that I wanted to talk about later, and I’ll talk about them now. The first is wasted potential, particularly with Princess Celestia, and this is a point I’m not very subtle about. And much of my complaints could also apply to Princess Luna. They were around since the beginning of the show (well, Luna didn’t appear for almost all of season 1 for some reason, but whatever), and they haven’t shown much worth. At least Luna is a little better in this regard as she got 2 of her own episodes, but I can’t say that I like either of them. Celestia finally 1 episode in season 8. Y’know, the second last season of the show. There were so many opportunities to show off their capabilities in previous seasons, but that never happened despite the show often making a big deal about both of them. Interestingly, it didn’t really happen in this episode, and they only act as authority figures. However, a portal was shown when Luna transported Cozy Glow to Tartarus, so there’s a small implication that Luna created the portal. She was with 2 other royal guards, but those guards were pegasus ponies, and those kinds of ponies can’t conjure up magical spells, so that only leaves Princess Luna. And I doubt creating portals is a common unicorn ability because if that were so easy, we should have seen that kind of ability more often in the show. Essentially, we have 2 allegedly special alicorn princesses, but we’re not shown how or why they’re special. Sure, they move the sun and moon, but any royal who isn’t irresponsible and can move the sun or moon doesn’t have any immediate distinctions on the surface from Celestia or Luna, so what do Celestia and Luna themselves do for Equestria? At least Luna has her dream-walking. Too bad Celestia doesn’t have another distinctive ability. Moving on, dream-walking is certainly a unique ability because we’d otherwise see other ponies doing this. So, why is Princess Luna so useless in 2-part episodes such as this one? She and Celestia are set aside for other characters to take the stage, but the sisters aren’t given anything else to do. On the flip side, the Mane 6 are sent on a wild goose chase to Tartarus because Cozy Glow knew they’d interfere with her plans, but we also have to see them escape as they’re definitely not being exiled from the show, and we do get to see them escape with some planning and their own abilities. Twilight may have come up with the plan, but she couldn’t do everything by herself, so her friends used their skills to assist with the escape. See, at least the Mane 6 were able to participate in this episode. Why are Princess Celestia and Luna (and Cadance possibly to a smaller degree) not allowed to do something else on the side? Even though the Mane 6’s actions didn’t directly contribute to Cozy Glow getting captured, at least they didn’t sit on their asses waiting for someone else to do their jobs. I can’t help but wonder if the alicorn sisters are actually pretty weak in the creators’ minds. That idea clashes with a comment Trixie made at the end of season 6, but bear with me for a moment. Anyways, if they were so weak, why go through the trouble of excluding them if they didn’t have the power to solve the problem so easily? It has been clear for too long that the show has completely mishandled the non-Twilight alicorns, especially the sisters. This flaw sucks even more now because with all of the new characters being introduced, the new characters need spotlight, and this just pushes away other characters that desperately needed attention. And since Celestia and Luna have been so inactive, making them active would be almost nonsensical. Their uselessness is so deeply ingrained into them that removing that aspect of their characters would change them completely. That wasn’t the impression the show wanted to make, but that’s what ended up happening. The second thing I wanted to talk about was the other friendships in Equestria not amounting to anything. It’s arguably a smaller point, but I still feel like talking about it. This relates to my least favorite episode in the show, which is the 2-part “The Cutie Re-Mark.” That episode had Twilight saying that all friendships in Equestria being important as the friendship lost between Starlight and Sunburst only led to Equestria’s death. Remember that all Starlight ever did was prevent the Mane 6 from meeting, so all of those alternate scenarios resulted because the Mane 6 never became friends, and that hardly supports the idea of all friendships being important. For one thing, there wouldn’t be anything stopping other ponies from being friends with each other in those alternate timelines, but their friendships ultimately couldn’t save Equestria. I mean, if another group of friends couldn’t use the Elements of Harmony, what does that say? If other ponies somehow couldn’t be friends with each other just because the Mane 6 never got together, then that already puts the Mane 6’s friendship above all others. Essentially, both of those scenarios ironically placed more importance on the Mane 6’s friendships instead of proving that all friendships were important. I don’t know if using the Student 6’s friendship was an attempt to correct this, but it still doesn’t fix anything. All we have now is 2 VERY SPECIFIC groups of friends who could possibly keep Equestria from dying. Maybe 3 if you want to count the pillars from the end of season 7. Suddenly, an episode I might have enjoyed if it came much earlier seems far less appealing, but that’s beside the point. Anyways, you only have 2 or 3 VERY SPECIFIC groups of friends who can stop Equestria from dying. Does that sound good for the well-being of Equestria at all? Suddenly, weaponizing friendship as literal magic turned out to be a bad idea since not just any kind of friends can wield the Elements of Harmony, and that as a result doesn’t show the power of friendship. There doesn’t seem to be much else to talk about. I guess I could give some comments on Cozy Glow. However, I don’t care for the episode, so there isn’t much reason for me to care about her character or plans. At least I can say that hiding her deception by being genuinely helpful was a good move so she could avoid suspicion. She was able to send the Mane 6 away by making them think that Tirek was responsible so she could go on uninterrupted. And she was easily able to take the school from Neighsay by reminding the students of what he tried in “School Daze.” There are shades of a competent villain, but as I’ve said before, her plan doesn’t make that much sense. She wants to take over Equestria by making a ton of friends, which she thinks will give her power. Too bad she didn’t realize that simply being friends with someone can’t actually give her power. Has she noticed other kinds of friends in Equestria? Did she see them wielding so much power? Too bad she didn’t pay attention. And even if it’s metaphorical power by being a ruler instead of literal magical power (not that she could use any because she’s a pegasus pony and because all of the magic in Equestria needed to be gone for her plan to work), she could easily lose her position since she can’t enforce it. If a pony rebels against her, what is she going to do about it? She’d have to be a genuinely good ruler if she doesn’t want any opposition she can’t handle (and this isn’t getting into the fact that she has no “special” powers or any loyal followers), so that hidden villainy will have to be wiped, and an important part of her character will need to change for better or worse. And I also doubt there would be a law that allowed a filly to be a ruler of Equestria, so that’s another shot against her plans. There are shades of her being a competent villain, but too many aspects of her ideas and plans (and other issues such as Princess Celestia and Luna somehow being powerless against a FILLY) prevent me from thinking better of her. By the way, does she have any parents? I would comment on Neighsay, but I can’t think of much to say about him outside of what I’ve already said. He tried to run the School of Friendship for himself, but his reign was short-lived. And he changes his opinion of the school and Twilight because that’s what he’s supposed to do. I can’t say that he has that much of a character arc mainly because he doesn’t appear all that much in this episode. I could acknowledge the irony of his fear. He thought teaching friendship to foreign students would encourage them to use it against Equestria, but it was actually a pony who caused all this trouble, and the foreign students are the ones who use what they learned at school to save Equestria. So it didn’t play out like the way I thought it would have, which is one pony using the trust of another to backstab them. Bring on season 9, I guess. From the looks of things, I’ll have more episodes to see than just the season opener and finale.